Birmingham Airport handles thousands fewer flights during the pandemic

There were more flights entering and leaving the UK as a whole last year compared to 2020 - but passenger numbers fell to a record low sparking concerns from environmental campaigners

Birmingham Airport handled the lowest number of flights since records began last year, figures show.

Civil Aviation Authority data shows 35,411 planes took off or landed at Birmingham Airport in 2021.

This was down 1% from 35,647 in 2020, and the lowest number since comparable records began in 2010.

By comparison, there were 109,357 flights in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

How many passengers travelled from Birmingham Airport last year?

A total of 2.5 million passengers boarded or got off domestic or international flights at Birmingham airport last year.

This was a decrease on the 2.9 million passengers who used the airport in 2020, and on the 12.6 million passengers who used the airport in 2019.

The figures include arrivals and departures, and travellers who changed from one aircraft to another as part of the same journey.

Birmingham Airport PCR testing: how to book an on-site PCR testBirmingham Airport PCR testing: how to book an on-site PCR test
Birmingham Airport PCR testing: how to book an on-site PCR test

How does this compare to the rest of the UK?

Despite more flights entering and leaving the UK as a whole in 2021, the number of passengers fell to a record low - sparking criticism from environmental organisations over the impact on the climate of running emptier flights.

Last year saw just 1.6 million flights to and from UK airports – the second-lowest number since 2010, but up from 1.5 million in 2020.

However, despite a rise in the number of flights nationally, the figures show the number of passengers passing through UK airports fell from 74.4 million to 65.4 million – the lowest on record.

This suggests planes were carrying fewer passengers than ever last year.

Birmingham AirportBirmingham Airport
Birmingham Airport

Were there any ghost flights at Birmingham Airport?

Separate figures released by the Department for Transport show 14,500 so-called ‘ghost’ flights took place over a 19-month period during the pandemic in the UK.

The international flights, which had no more than 10% of their seats filled, were operated mainly to transport cargo or repatriate Britons stranded overseas.

Of these, 627 occurred at Birmingham Airport between March 2020 and September 2021.

Airlines have traditionally run ghost flights when they need to hit the 80% threshold for using valuable take-off and landing slots at congested airports to retain the right to use them during the following year.

Slot rules were suspended at UK airports shortly after the start of the pandemic but were reintroduced at 50% in October 2021.

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