European airport traffic set to recovery: ACI

Istanbul remains busiest airport
/ New Delhi
European airport traffic set to recovery: ACI

According to ACI, airport traffic for March and full Quarter 1, 2022 confirms recovery in passenger traffic (Photo: John Oswald/Unsplash)

With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, airports around the world saw a fluctuation in passenger traffic. Keeping this in view, ACI Europe, the European airport trade body, released a report regarding the changes in the traffic in the airports of Europe and other regions during the month of March and Q1 2022.
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According to a report released by Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), the airport traffic for March 2022 and full Quarter 1, 2022 confirms recovery in Passenger traffic. It revealed that the European airport network posted its best monthly performance since the Covid-19 pandemic at -34.1pc in March and -39.6 pc for Q1 from –51.1pc and -42.1pc in January. All the data is in comparison with the corresponding period in 2019.

The easing of restrictions on both inbound and outbound travel on most states in the EU+ area resulted in a pent-up demand, hence the month of March and full Quarter 1 saw acceleration of the recovery rate for the airport traffic.

The best performing markets in the EU+ area in March were Portugal (-16.3 pc), Romania (-21.8 pc) and Spain (-21.9 pc). However, the regions that couldn’t enjoy the same fortune were Slovenia (-61.9 pc), Slovakia (-58 pc) and Germany (-51.7 pc).

Airports in the UK (-38.2 pc) were finally closer to the EU+ area average while those in France (-29.5 pc) outperformed both of them.

When Russia waged war against Ukraine, the passenger traffic in the rest of Europe deteriorated from -23.8 pc in January (Q1 at -26.5 pc) to -32.9 pc in March.

The decline in March came from the loss of all passenger traffic at Ukrainian airports, Moldavian airports (-94.5 pc), and Russian airports due to the EU and UK air traffic bans, along with closure by the Russian Government of more than 10 commercial airports. Though passenger traffic at Russian airports had recovered to their pre-pandemic volumes at the start of the year, it dropped immediately at an average of -24 pc in March at those Russian airports which still remain in operation.

Apart from the EU+ area, passenger traffic at other areas such as Georgian airports were in decline (-38 pc). However, for other markets including Serbia (-21 pc) and Turkey (-24.5 pc), the traffic grew in the period. Airports in Armenia (+0.4 pc) on the other hand, achieved a full recovery, while those in Albania (+38.9 pc) and Kosovo (+15.1pc) were way above their pre-pandemic volumes.

As for the top 5 airports in Europe, Istanbul (-20 pc) remained the busiest European airport, London-Heathrow (-35.7 pc) jumped to the 2nd position up from the 4th over the preceding month, followed by Paris-CDG (-35.2 pc), Amsterdam-Schiphol (-33.8 pc) and Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez (-27.5 pc). The overall result was a significant uplift from -48.5 pc in January to -34.5 pc in March.

On a pleasant note, the smaller & regional airports showed better results by being way ahead from others. The passenger traffic in March was -24.9 pc up from -38 pc in January and an average of -32.1 pc for Q1. Low-cost airlines’ strongholds such as Milan-Bergamo (-5.7 pc), Charleroi (-5.2 pc) and Kaunas (-7.2 pc) came close to achieving a full recovery in March.

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