Frequent flyer: a Ryanair Boeing 737 at Lourdes airport in southwest France
Frequent flyer: a Ryanair Boeing 737 at Lourdes airport in southwest France

European aviation: French domestic flights are way ahead of the rest

The only international pairing in the top 10 of country-to-country links is Germany to and from Spain

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 27 April 2021 18:02

The vast majority of flights currently operating in Europe are domestic – with links in France way ahead of other countries.

A snapshot of operations for Monday 26 April by the air-navigation service, Eurocontrol, shows that travellers in France could choose from a remarkable 739 domestic flights. Some were links between the capital and the provinces, while others connected regional cities.

The island of Corsica also receives a large number of French domestic flights.

The French government has funnelled billions of euros into Air France, on condition that it cancels some domestic links where a train service is available. But this is likely to affect only a small percentage of total routes.

Eamonn Brennan, the director-general, said: “The top 9 flows yesterday were all domestic – France the busiest (up seven per cent over two weeks) while Turkey domestic flights dropped 10 per cent.

Turkish internal flights number 541, below Norway (704) and Spain (610). Norway’s population centres are a long way apart, while many of Spain’s domestic links connect the Balearic and Canary Islands with the mainland.

Germany took fifth place with 460 flights, up a quarter in two weeks.

Domestic bliss? Country pairs for 26 April

The UK stood at sixth. It has less than half the area of France, but more than half the number of domestic flights. On Monday 420 domestic flights operated between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – most of them departing from, or arriving at, the London airports, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast.

The number of departures is 7 per cent higher than two weeks ago. Sean Moulton, UK airline schedule analyst, said: “The increase is due to easyJet, Loganair and Eastern Airways resuming domestic routes across the UK,.

“Whilst this is still 65 per cent down on 2019, it demonstrates the UK domestic market is starting to recover and is likely to grow substantially more after 17 May, when many routes resume and new flights start - with Belfast, Bournemouth and Newquay all seeing new domestic flights starting next month.”

The same number of domestic flights, 420, operated within Italy – but this was a reduction of 7 per cent over the past two weeks.

The eighth and ninth countries in the chart of country-to-country flights are Greece (220) and Sweden (176).

The top 10 is completed by the only non-domestic pairing: Germany to Spain. There were 136 flights, many of them to and from Palma on the island of Mallorca.

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