Traffic at European airports nearly doubled year-on-year in 2022 but remained below pre-COVID-19 levels, the Airports Council International of Europe (ACI Europe) reported on Tuesday.
Last year’s traffic soared 98% compared to 2021, to 1.940 billion passengers, but remained 21% below the levels recorded in 2019, before the pandemic, and only 27% of the continent’s airports have fully recovered, the business association added. representing more than 500 airports in 55 countries.
“It’s not a full recovery yet. European airports were still missing 500 million passengers in 2022 compared to the pre-pandemic level,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI.
Jankovec added that despite this year’s uncertainty over the war in Ukraine and supply pressures stemming from airline capacity reductions during the pandemic, traffic prospects are improving, as demand headwinds “are softening a bit” with China’s reopening. the easing of recession fears in Europe and the moderation of inflation.
Among the five busiest airports in Europe – the main ones, with an increase in traffic of 114%, but 22.6% less than in 2019 – the association cites Istanbul, London Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Madrid, which is a change from 2021, when the top five were dominated by Turkey and Russia.
Among those that have fully recovered their 2019 volumes, 90% were smaller, regional airports, ACI said, thanks to leisure demand, low-cost airlines driving performance and limited or no exposure to Asia, while airports in Kazakhstan and Armenia benefited from an influx of traffic from Russia.