More flights but fewer passengers. | Miquel À. Cañellas


According to the Performance 2022 report from Eurocontrol's Aviation Intelligence Unit, Palma Son Sant Joan was the only one of Europe's large airports to increase the number of flights in 2022 compared with pre-pandemic 2019.

This growth, attributed to the reactivation of tourism from different source markets, resulted in Palma entering the top ten of Europe's airports for the first time - the top ten in terms of flights - which also features the likes of Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Heathrow as well as Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat, the two busiest Spanish airports.

The analysis is based on average daily arrivals and departures over the course of 2022. For Palma, this figure was 604, an increase of one per cent compared with 2019. The largest percentage decrease was -32% for Munich, one place above Palma in eighth.

There is a caveat to this report in that Istanbul, number one on the list with a daily average of 1,156, is given an 'n/a' for 2019 comparative purposes. The report also recognises the impact of war in Ukraine and of flight cancellations at various airports in 2022.

Eurocontrol doesn't give passenger numbers in its 2022 analysis, but provisional forecasts from the Aena airports authority in Spain suggest a fall of some 1.2 million passengers at Palma - down from 29.7 million in 2019 to 28.5 million in 2022.