Air traffic

Air traffic continues to recover in Europe

ACI Europe’s latest traffic report illustrated the continued recovery of the industry, with March recording the best monthly performance for the European airport network since the start of the pandemic.

For March 2022, passenger traffic across Europe was -34.1% compared to 2019 figures, with the first quarter registering -39.6% compared to the same period before the pandemic.

‘) } // –>

ACI attributed the March recovery to the easing of restrictions in EU+ states for intra-European and external travel due to strong pent-up demand. Thus, passenger traffic at airports in the EU+ area was -34.3% in March, compared to -51.1% in January (Q1 as a whole was -42.1%).

The best performing markets in the EU+ area in March were Portugal (-16.3%), Romania (-21.8%) and Spain (-21.9%). The worst performers are Slovenia (-61.9%), Slovakia (-58%) and Germany (-51.7%). UK airports (-38.2%) finally came close to the average for the EU+ area while those in France (-29.5%) exceeded it.

In the rest of Europe, Russia’s war against Ukraine resulted in a sharp deterioration in passenger traffic in March at -32.9% compared to -23.8% in January (Q1 at -26, 5%).

The fall in March is due to the loss of all passenger traffic at Ukrainian airports and the bulk of passenger traffic at Moldovan airports (-94.5%), as well as the reduction in passenger traffic at airports Russians. The latter was mainly the result of EU and UK air traffic bans, but also the Russian government’s closure of more than 10 commercial airports in the southern part of that country. While passenger traffic at Russian airports had returned to pre-pandemic volumes at the start of the year, it fell to an estimated average of -24% in March at Russian airports still in operation.

Elsewhere in the non-EU+ area, while passenger traffic also deteriorated at Georgian airports (-38%), it continued to improve in all other markets, including Serbia (-21%) and Turkey (-24.5%). Airports in Armenia (+0.4%) achieved a full recovery, while those in Albania (+38.9%) and Kosovo (+15.1%) were well above their volumes. before the pandemic.

Olivier Jankovec, Managing Director of ACI Europe, said: “The impact of the Russian-led war in Ukraine on passenger traffic has been limited to these countries and a few others in their immediate vicinity. For airports in the rest of Europe, the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions not only within the continent but also increasingly for intercontinental travel bodes very well for the summer season.

“The immediate challenge is to manage the sudden surge in traffic as the pandemic has left airports and ground handlers with severely stretched resources. This now requires a staff overhaul in what is a very tight labor market across Europe. In addition, the time required by national security clearance procedures for airport personnel combined with training requirements simply does not allow for overnight adaptation. All of this, combined with much more concentrated traffic during peak periods, is putting significant pressure on the entire aviation system as we strive to recover,” he said.

The top five European airports saw their passenger traffic improve significantly to -34.5% in March, from -48.5% in January.

Istanbul (-20%) remained Europe’s busiest airport, but London-Heathrow (-35.7%) fell from fourth to second in the previous month, followed by Paris-CDG (-35.2 %), Amsterdam-Schiphol (-33.8%). %) and Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez (-27.5%).