The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published passenger numbers for the first quarter of 2021. Overall, 3.4 million passengers flew in and out of the UK between January and March this year, across 80,625 flights. This represents a 94% fall in passenger numbers compared to the same period in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the Government tightened travel restrictions over the festive period, passenger numbers and flights to and from the UK showed signs of recovery in December 2020. However, following the closure of all travel corridors in the middle of January 2021, and the addition of hotel quarantining for arrivals from red list countries coming in the middle of February, there was a further reduction in the numbers of passengers travelling.
Due to relatively consistent travel restrictions through the rest of the quarter, the UK did observe some stability in both aircraft movements and passenger numbers across the period.
Overall levels of cargo transport were down compared to the same period in 2019, with 578,216 tonnes of cargo carried (a 15% fall compared to 2019), but an increase of 104% on cargo carried on cargo specific flights (429,975 tonnes). The average delay for flights significantly improved, however, with an average wait time of nine minutes.
Following the reopening of domestic self-contained holidays from 12th April and the restart of some international leisure travel from 17th May, the number of flights and passengers has shown an increase in Quarter 2 so far.