December was the busiest month for global air travel in 2021 despite worldwide flight cancellations.
A total of 2.43 million flights took place, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.
Over 59,240 flights were cancelled globally over Christmas and New Year, the highest number in over a decade.
A combination of Omicron and winter weather resulted in airlines rapidly cancelling
flights due to crew and ground staff shortages.
There are large variances between the regions, with the US, Europe and North Atlantic
down 9-10%, while China is up 6%, and the Asia Pacific and the Middle East are flat.
Amsterdam Airport was the busiest airport for international flights in 2021, with a total of
123,070 departing flights. However, it didn’t make the Top 20 airport rankings for on-time
Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO, said: “Flight disruptions affect airlines and airports differently –
it depends on the stand-by flexibility of equipment and resources in place to react quickly.
“Those that plan more conservatively will minimise their operational disruptions. Cirium
monitors the level of disruption by measuring the completion factor of flights and their on-time
This data was revealed as part of Cirium’s annual On-Time Performance review, which is the industry standard for airline and airport operational performance.