Before COVID, around 160 short & medium routes had 12 or more flights/day. Now, only a few routes have 12 flights/day or more.
Our sixth EUROCONTROL Data Snapshot is dedicated to the shift to a much more domestic and low frequency network due to COVID-19.
Busy short- and medium-haul routes
February 2020 was the last relatively normal month for European aviation, before the COVID-19 pandemic led to a Europe-wide grounding of aviation. In February 2020 there were many high-frequency connections in the European network: 157 short- and medium-haul airport pairs had 12 or more flights per day (total of both directions). The graph shows that these connections were largely domestic, or between major capital cities: Madrid-Rome, London-Stockholm, for example. Busiest, with more than 35 flights per day, were Berlin-Frankfurt and routes between the Canary Islands.
With COVID-19, priorities have changed. As they clambered out of the first lockdown, airlines attempted to restore broad networks even if it could only be done at low daily frequencies. This winter, with a second wave of lockdown, not even that minimum connectivity could be maintained.
In February 2021, only 29 routes reached the 12 per day threshold. The highest-frequency connections were on domestic routes, such as Paris-Toulouse, Istanbul-Antalya, or in between Canary Islands. Indeed, this focus on domestic routes is evident across the February 2021 map. Madrid-Gran Canaria had a more frequent service this year than last, so appears in only the February 2021 map.
Two international routes stand out in February 2021: Kyiv-Sharm el Sheikh, mixing leisure charter and scheduled flights; and the core Air France-KLM link between Paris/Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam/Schiphol, boosted a little by cargo from FedEx and others.
Download this EUROCONTROL Data Snapshot below.
Technical Bits: The lines on the map show the great-circle, not flown route.