Friday, June 2, 2023

European airports recovered 79% of pre-pandemic traffic in 2022

Brussels.- Passenger traffic at European airports doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year, to close to 2 billion travelers, with which they recovered 79% of the level of activity prior to the covid-19 pandemic, according to published data. this Tuesday by the Airports Council International (ACI Europe).

However, traffic remains 21% below 2019 figures and less than a third of airports (27%) have fully recovered their level of activity, most of which are small and regional.

In Spain, airports recovered more traffic than the European average, remaining only 11.4% below the pre-pandemic level.

ACI Director General Olivier Jankovec celebrated the “phenomenal increase” in traffic last year due to the lifting of covid restrictions and despite “geopolitical shocks, macroeconomic deterioration, rapidly increasing airfares” and the persistence of the covid, but stressed that “it is not a complete recovery.”

“Airports still had 500 million fewer passengers in 2022 than before the pandemic and there were significant gaps in traffic from large hubs and small regional airports, as well as between national markets,” it said in a statement.

These were due to the dominance of leisure demand that benefits tourism-oriented countries, increased competition between airports, the impact of past restrictions and the war in Ukraine, the organization noted.

In the group of airports from the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the aerodromes that were closest to recovering the pre-pandemic level were those of Greece (-1.9% compared to 2019) and Portugal (-5.8% ), although among the large countries Spain was the one that obtained the best results, remaining only 11.4% below the pre-pandemic level.

It is followed by Italy (-17.9%) and France (-18.8%), while those of the United Kingdom (-24.8%) and Germany (-34.9%) performed worse than average.

In the rest of Europe, the expansion of low-cost airlines boosted traffic in Albania (+55.7% compared to 2019), Kosovo (+26.1%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (+20.4%), among others, while Russian airports were 24.9% below precovid traffic.

As for the main airports on the continent, the “top five” changed from 2021, when Turkish and Russian airfields saw the most traffic, although Istanbul remains the busiest airport, with 64.3 million passengers and almost recovered from the pandemic (-6.2% compared to 2019).

They are followed by London (with 61.6 million passengers, 23.8% less), Paris-CDG (57.5 million passengers, 24.5% less); and Amsterdam-Schipol (52.5 million passengers, 26.8% less), while Madrid was placed in fourth position with 50.6 million passengers (-18% less) after surpassing Frankfurt (48.9 million, 30.7% less).

For 2023, ACI shows “cautious optimism” as the reopening of China, less fear of a recession in Europe and the decline in inflation should help to continue to recover traffic, but there are factors that will push downwards.

In particular, they mention the reduction in capacity that many airlines undertook during the pandemic, the increase in rates, the delays in aircraft deliveries or the lack of personnel in some markets.


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