Spain is the European country with the highest air traffic in 2023

by Lorraine Williamson
2023 air traffic

Spain is the European country with the highest air traffic in 2023, with more than 800,000 flights operated and 120 million passengers carried, ahead of Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to data claims management company AirHelp.

For example, the number of air travellers in Spain last year was 33.3% higher than the number reached in 2022. At that time, more than 90 million passengers were transported by air. However, AirHelp emphasises that Spain was less punctual. In 2022, the number of delays was around 22%, in 2023 it was more than 25%.

The numbers two to five in the ranking

Germany, which recorded 95 million trips and more than 650,000 operated flights, is number two in the ranking. Then comes France, with more than 95 million passengers and more than 600,000 operations, Italy, with almost 90 million travellers departing from Italian airports and more than 600,000 flights; and the United Kingdom, which carried 37 million passengers and had more than 250,000 flight movements.

At the European level, more than five million flights departing from a European country were recorded, which means that more than 750 million passengers flew from European airports.

Lowcost airlines

AirHelp’s data also shows that the most popular airline for travel from Europe was Ryanair, with “exorbitant” figures compared to the other airlines: more than 750,000 flights operated and more than 125 million trips – twice as many as the next busiest airline.

Cogesa Expats

However, the low-cost airline Eurowings of the Lufthansa group recorded almost 93% on-time departures.

Most delays in the summer

The summer months remain the busiest months for air traffic, and also see the most delays. In July, 85 million passengers passed through a European airport. In the same month, the percentage of disrupted flights was the highest. As many as 38.2% of passengers experienced some form of disruption to their journey.


More than 230 million passengers experienced problems with their flight schedule in Europe and 15 million flights were cancelled.  Lithuania, Norway and Albania stood out for the good performance of their airports. Of the two million passengers who took a flight from Lithuania, 80% arrived at their destination on time; of the 28 million passengers who flew from Norwegian airports, 79.4% departed on time; and 78.8% of the 2.5 million passengers who started their journey in Albania.

At the other end of the spectrum are Malta, Turkey and Portugal, where only 60%, 61% and 37% of travellers respectively arrived undisturbed.

Also read: Spain targets record numbers of international tourists in 2023

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