During December many countries in the EU imposed new travel restrictions, including Portugal. This led to a further drop in commercial flights however, Portugal fared better than the EU on the whole.

Commercial flights in Portugal fell by 13.9 percent in December compared to the pre-pandemic period. However, this fall was lower than the European Union (EU) average, which recorded a 23.9 percent decline in the last month of 2021 compared to December 2019, according to Eurostat data.

In absolute terms, the number of commercial flights in the EU stood at 383,720 in December 2021, compared to 166,990 in December 2020 and 504,270 in December 2019, notes Eurostat. This means that, in the last month of 2021, the number of commercial flights among the 27 increased by 130 percent compared to December 2020, but reduced by 23.9 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Looking at EU Member States, those that recorded the smallest drops in commercial flights in December last year compared to the same month of 2019 were Croatia (minus 5.7 percent), Greece (minus 8.4 percent) and Cyprus (minus 9 percent). Portugal had the fourth smallest drop in flights between the 27 countries in the bloc.

Conversely, the countries with the biggest reduction in the number of commercial flights in December 2021 compared to December 2019, decreasing by more than 40 percent, were the Czech Republic (minus 40.5 percent) and Austria (minus 40.8 percent), the latter being under mandatory confinement. The rest recorded decreases of less than one third.

Throughout 2021, the air transport sector showed signs of a slow recovery, with the last quarter recording the values ​​closest to pre-pandemic numbers to date: minus 30.1 percent in October, minus 25.7 percent in November and 23.9 percent less in December.