Flights to and from Portugal hit 22-year low

 In Aviation, News

The number of flights to and from Portugal have plummeted to the lowest level since 1998.

According to reports in the Portuguese press, citing the National Aviation Authority (NAV), Portugal recorded 345,000 flights in 2020 which was a 58% drop compared to 2019 when 816,000 were registered.
Blaming the Covid-19 pandemic, the national aviation authority said that the number of flights in January and February 2020 was at around the same number of flights as the previous year (2019).
However, with the onset of the State of Emergency in March 2020 the number of flights nose-dived by 94% by the end of April like-for-like on the same month in 2019.
In May the situation was little better, with numbers sky-falling by 92% in May and 88% in June, recovering to -55% in the summer months.
By October, the air travel industry saw another fall in a trend which has continued through to this year.
NAV President Manuel Teixeira Rolo said that the virus had caught everyone off-guard. “No one ever thought it would be possible for aviation to stop almost completely. Adapting to the restrictions of the pandemic, while simultaneously meeting the urgent demands of transporting medical items and carrying out emergency flights and hundreds of repatriation flights to many European countries, were among the biggest challenges we have ever faced at NAV,” he said.
Despite the difficulties, Rolo added that he was proud of the way in which the aviation authority had managed to keep the skies open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, even in the face of tough challenges.”
The NAV president went on to say that hopes are that 2021 will bring “some stability” to the sector.
According to an analysis from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) air traffic numbers in 2021 will remain low compared to recent years, although it is expected that the number of flights will improve the summer but flight numbers may only get back to normal by 2024.