Good news for the planet: carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere were halved last year in European aviation. The main reason for the drop was a drastically reduced number of flights last year, due to the ongoing pandemic which spurred countries to close borders and led to fewer travelers packing their bags and taking to the skies.
In 2021, 6.2 million flights were operated in European airspace. Compared to 2019, which is the year of reference as 2020 was greatly affected by pandemic measures, air traffic has fallen by 45.3%.
The best score was achieved in Finland, with a drop in emissions of 68.3%. These figures were calculated by Eurocontrol, a European organization that works for the safety of air travel within the Union's airspace. In Sweden, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, the reduction in air traffic made it possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 60%.
Long-haul flights, that is, those that travelled more than 1,500 km, were responsible for almost three quarters of CO2 emissions: 74.9% to be precise. However, they represented only 28.5% of the flights. To give you an idea, very short-haul flights, traveling less than 500 km, generated only 4.1% of European air travel's CO2 emissions.