Major reduction in air traffic in 2020 due to the pandemic

Published: 09 March 2021 09:49

The air traffic in Swedish airspace decreased by 57 percent in 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic. The number of flights last year was 332,000, compared with 774,000 in 2019.

‘2020 was the year that no one could have predicted. At the beginning of March, we first learned that a pandemic had begun to take hold in Sweden and the consequences of that just kept on coming. The pandemic had dramatic consequences for travel in general and for aviation in particular’, says LFV's Director General Ann Persson Grivas.

In a normal year, LFV manages around 750,000 flights in Swedish airspace, meaning just over 60,000 flights per month. We divide air traffic into three different categories: domestic, international, and overflights. The latter category involves flights that neither take off nor land in Sweden. In 2020, domestic traffic decreased by 51 percent, international traffic by 64 percent, and overflights by 57 percent.

2020 began with a relatively small decline during the first two months, which was in line with the development at the end of 2019. From mid-March, the pandemic began to affect Europe, which had immediate and major consequences for European air traffic. Borders were closed and air traffic declined sharply. Air traffic volumes were at their lowest in April, reaching just over 15 percent of the 2019 volumes. Then, traffic recovered somewhat and has remained between 30 and 35 percent compared with 2019 since mid-year 2020.

‘It is difficult to know when travel and aviation have recovered and how the industry as a whole will be affected by the pandemic in the long term’, says Ann Persson Grivas.

Naturally, the 2020 sharp decline in the number of flights had consequences for LFV's finances. The total result after revaluation of the pension liability was SEK -122 million. Higher aviation revenues due to higher pension costs due to technical revaluation of the pension provision, lower other operating income, lower external costs, and higher payroll expenses are the main differences compared with the previous year. Lower revenues in relation to our costs resulted in a worse result compared with the previous year.

For more information, please contact LFV's press service on telephone +46 (0)11 19 20 50.

LFV is Sweden's leading provider of air traffic control and associated services for civil and military aviation. LFV pioneered remote air traffic control and is a driver of digitisation in several areas. By participating in various collaboration efforts, we help make the use of European airspace more efficient. 

Facts about LFV

  • LFV is the air traffic controller at 16 airports and operates four control centres in Sweden. ATCC Stockholm, ATCC Malmö (ATCC=Air Traffic Control Center), RTC Stockholm (Remote Tower Center), and Östgöta Kontrollcentral.
  •  LFV has more than 70 years' experience and knowledge of air traffic control services and aviation safety.
  • 40 years' experience of integrating civil and military air traffic control services.
  • LFV is a state-owned enterprise.
  • 332,000 flights in Swedish airspace in 2020.
  • 99.9 percent punctuality.
  • 100 percent achieved aviation safety goals.
  • LFV has 1,100 employees and had a turnover of SEK 3.3 billion in 2020.
  • The statistic that LFV reports includes civil IFR-traffic.