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Traffic data confirms strong August for Europe’s airports


The latest traffic figures from ACI EUROPE show that passenger numbers at the continent’s airports in August was just 12% below pre-pandemic levels.

The trade body reveals that passenger traffic across Europe’s airports increased by +51% in August compared to the same month last year, with the surge mostly driven by international passenger traffic (+70%) following the lifting of travel restrictions.

In marked contrast, domestic passenger traffic grew at a much slower pace, rising by just 8% during the month.

EU+ market in the lead and war impact visible

According to ACI EUROPE, the EU+ market kept driving the recovery, with passenger traffic at airports in the bloc increasing by +64% in August compared to the same month last year.

The best performances came from airports in the UK (+178%), Finland (+175%) and Ireland (+147%), reflecting the fact that governments in these countries had been slower to ease travel restrictions last year.

When compared to pre-pandemic (August 2019) levels, airports in Greece (+4.5%), Luxembourg (+6.4%) and Iceland (+0.2%) achieved a full passenger traffic recovery in August.

Meanwhile, airports in other large tourism markets including Portugal (-5.8%), Spain (-7.4%), Italy (-8.5%) and Croatia (-8.6%), along with those in Romania (-6.8%) and Lithuania (-7.8%) came closest to a full recovery.

Conversely, airports in Slovenia (-40.1%), Finland (-37.7%), Latvia (-31.1%), the Czech Republic (-30.5%) and Bulgaria (-29.3%) significantly outperformed, in large part a reflection of the impact of the war in Ukraine and related sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

Amongst larger markets, the performance of airports in France (-13.5%) and Germany (-14.2%) was similar, with those in the UK (-19%) still lagging behind.

Overall, the EU+ market stood at -14% in August compared to pre-pandemic (August 2019) volumes.

At airports in the rest of Europe, passenger traffic only increased by +7% when compared to the same month last year.

This mostly reflected the effects of the war – with the loss of all commercial air traffic for Ukrainian airports, declining passenger volumes airports in Belarus (-16.6%) and Russia (-17.2%) as well as flat results for those in Moldova (-0.3%).

When compared to pre-pandemic (August 2019) levels, passenger traffic in the rest of Europe stood at -16%.

Airports in Albania (+60.3%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (+31.2%), Kosovo (+22.7%) and Armenia (+21.4%) far exceeded their pre-pandemic volumes, while those in the major market of Turkey (-4.5%) came close to a full recovery.

At the other end of the spectrum, airports in Belarus (-60.6%) and Moldova (-20.4%) registered steep declines, with those in Russia (+5.7%) still managing to remain above their pre-pandemic volumes as passenger traffic shifted to domestic and non-EU+ routes.

ACI EUROPE’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, said: “August’s snapshot shows us how polarised the situation is becoming for Europe’s airports as they are dominated by externalities.

“On the one hand, the public appetite to travel is undimmed – as the holiday surge shows. On the other hand we have the reality of war. The simple fact of geography is going to have a heavy hand in our members’ fortunes for some time to come it seems.”


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