The number of passengers flying in and out of British airports totaled 31.4 million in the first quarter of 2022, a 42% fall on pre-pandemic numbers.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the slow start to the year was caused by the emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus before Christmas, which led to many airlines canceling flights and new travel restrictions on UK travelers.
The number of flights in the first quarter reached 292,764, which was fewer than the previous three months to end December 2021, when 315,202 flights took place. However, the CAA noted that in spite of the lower number of flights, more people traveled in the first quarter of 2022, than in the final three months of 2021, when 30.9 million passengers flew in and out of the UK.
“With the further easing of travel restrictions across key destinations and both the Easter and May half term breaks appearing in Q2 2022, it is expected that passengers and flights will continue their recent upward trajectory,” the CAA said in a press release on May 24, 2022.
Many carriers active in the UK, such as Ryanair and easyJet, are expecting a busy summer in 2022 as people seek to make up for vacations and journeys they missed out on during COVID-19 pandemic.