Flight data for Gatwick Airport suggests a muted start to the peak summer season in the week that state schools in England broke up for the holidays with an average 158 flights a day over the seven days to Wednesday.
Gatwick recorded just over 1,100 departure flights in the week to July 21, 28% up on the previous week. But that compared with more than 5,260 over the same seven-day period in 2019.
The sharpest increase came last weekend ahead of the relaxation of quarantine restrictions for vaccinated passengers returning from amber countries other than France on Monday.
Friday July 16 saw an additional 56 flights from the airport on top of those operating the week before, 44 more flights were added on Saturday and 50 on Sunday, according to data from Eurocontrol, the European air traffic safety organisation.
But on Monday there were just 23 additional departing flights, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 36.
Eurocontrol reported 111 international flights a day over the period, with the UK remaining the single biggest destination served with an average 24 flights a day compared with 20 to Spain and 21 to Ireland.
Belfast received as many daily flights as Palma de Mallorca and Glasgow as many as Ibiza.
Greece was the second most-popular international destination with six flights a day and Portugal third with four.
EasyJet operated more than two-thirds of all departures, with a week-on-week increase in flights of 43%.
Departures remained 83% down on July 2019 and have yet to attain the level of August last year when the number of flights rose above 250 a day.
Summer 2020 traffic from Gatwick peaked between August 1 and September 5, falling back to the level of the past week by October.
Nevertheless, the increase over the seven days raised Gatwick from 93rd to 77th in Eurocontrol’s European airport rankings. Gatwick would normally be among the 10 busiest airports in Europe.