NAV Portugal managed 345,300 flights in 2020, a year negatively marked by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic that were felt particularly strongly in civil aviation”, revealed the airspace manager, according to the provisional data of 2020. Also indicating that these numbers represent “the worst record since 1998”, when 357,000 flights were managed.

Comparing to the last year, the value recorded in 2020 represents a 58 percent drop in air traffic, in line with that observed throughout the network of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), whose traffic fell 55 percent over the past year.
“It was a situation that caught everyone off guard. Adapting the operation to the conditions of the pandemic and, at the same time, to the urgent demands of transporting medical supplies, emergency flights and hundreds of repatriation flights to various European countries, was one of the biggest challenges that NAV has ever faced”, said the president of NAV, Manuel Teixeira Rolo.

NAV data, which is now 22 years old, indicates that the effects of the pandemic on air traffic were immediate, with flights falling to by 94 percent in April, by 92 percent in May and down by 88 percent in June, comparing to the same months of 2019.
Over the summer, there was a slight improvement, reaching levels equivalent to -55 percent compared to the same period in 2019, “but the last months of the year were marked by a new deterioration, a trend that continues in these first days of 2021”, explained the organisation.

This organisation also predicts the return to values close to the total flights registered in 2019 should only happen in 2024.