Cyprus had second biggest rise in EU air travel

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Last year, Cyprus had Europe’s second-largest increase in passengers travelling by air (105%) in 2021 compared to 2020, according to Eurostat.

The total number of passengers travelling by air in the EU was 373 million, a substantial increase of 35% from 2020, after a strong decline of 73% (from 2019) due to pandemic restrictions.

Looking at the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when the total reached 1.04 billion people, the number of passengers in air transport decreased by 64%, indicating that recovery was still far away.

Data shows all Member States, except for Finland (-16%), registered an increase in passengers travelling by air since 2020.

These increases varied among countries, from 10% in Ireland, 16% in Sweden and 17% in Latvia to 86% in Greece, 105% in Cyprus and 129% in Croatia.

Extra-EU passenger transport represented 39% of total air travel in 2021.

On the other hand, intra-EU transport represented 38%, and national transport represented 23%.

Compared with 2020, the share of extra-EU transport decreased by 5.5 percentage points (pp), while intra-EU transport increased by 4.5 pp; national transport increased by 1 pp.

The list of top 5 EU airports remained the same, with Paris/Charles de Gaulle (26.2 million passengers), Amsterdam/Schiphol (25.5 mln), Frankfurt/Main (24.8 mln), Madrid/Barajas (23.2 mln) and Barcelona/El Prat (18.5 mln) leading the chart.

Palma de Mallorca (14.5 mln) is now in the top 10, and München (12.5 mln) dropped three places, being the top 10 airport that saw the smallest increase in passengers compared with 2020, +12%.

Palma de Mallorca in Spain saw the biggest growth, +137% compared with 2020, followed by Paris-Orly in France (+46%) and Athinai/Eleftherios Venizelos in Greece (+52%).

Larnaca airport was further down on the list with 3.1 mln passengers (compared with 1.6 mln in 2020 and 8.2 mln in 2019).

Paphos airport recorded 1.5 mln passengers in 2021, from 631,950 in 2020 and 3.0 mln in 2019.

Cyprus airports were shut for several months during the start of COVID-19 in March 2020.