An air traffic assessment released by EUROCONTROL revealed staggering differences in domestic flight recovery throughout different continents. The US is halfway there, while China has almost reached pre-COVID levels on August 25, 2020.

The EUROCONTROL Comprehensive Assessment, released on August 27, 2020, shows an overall dismal situation for the global aviation industry. Due to restrictions, most international flights are stagnant at around a negative 70% worldwide compared to 2019 due to travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

Domestic flights are a different story. They can very well show how countries and regions are faring and recovering economically during the global pandemic. According to the report, domestic flights in both the EU and the US are down 47% and 45% respectively. On the other hand, China recorded 12,168 flights on August 25, marking a milestone of being a mere 13% below its pre-COVID levels.

Reportedly, China’s domestic aerospace activity was about 14,000 flights at the end of January 2020, before the market collapsed. The region began its recovery at the end of February 2020 and went smoothly until mid-June due to the virus’s resurgence. After the small setback, China’s market continued a steady recovery.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reached the States at the end of March 2020, causing a sharp drop in traffic. US domestic flights have somewhat recovered from being down to 20% capacity at the end of April 2020, to a negative 45% at mid-August. However, the recovery from April to June was a slow one, followed by a slight surge before it plateaued again in mid-August.

According to the report, Atlanta Airport (ATL) and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) are by far the busiest in the US, with Atlanta receiving almost twice as much traffic as the third in line Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

In contrast, China’s busiest airports are Guanzhou Baiyun (CAN), Chengdu Shuangliu (CTU), and Beijing Capital (PEK). China’s capital airport is reportedly still recovering after the mid-June outbreak.