The European airports trade authority, ACI Europe, showed through its January 2022 traffic report that passenger traffic across the European airport network remained -45.7% below pre-pandemic levels recorded in January 2019.
Passenger volumes also deteriorated significantly during December 2021 (-39.4 percent). According to the ACI, something like this happened as Omicron-related travel procedures halted the air traffic recovery.
Olivier Jankovic, general manager of ACI Europe, said in a comment on the January numbers.
ACI says the deterioration in passenger traffic in January was primarily driven by the EU+ market. Within the EU market, the drop in passenger traffic was impressive as it fell from -28.8% recorded in December 2021 to -45% in January 2022.
International passenger traffic has also declined significantly, from -47.8 percent in December to -52.8 percent in January, due to the re-imposition of travel restrictions within the EU/EEA, TheSchengen.com reports.
As for passenger traffic between the EU + national markets, the performance gap was shown to have widened significantly in January, in part as a reflection of the different responses that each country had towards the Omicron variant.
ACI reveals that the best offers within the EU+ market came from airports located in Croatia, Spain, Bulgaria and Portugal. In contrast, airports in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and Germany experienced the largest declines compared to the pre-pandemic period.
In the rest of Europe, airports in smaller markets – those in Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina – generated more passenger traffic than in January 2019.
Despite the decline recorded in January, the ACI has confirmed that travel regulations are finally in line, and passenger traffic is increasing again.
The ACI report shows that passenger traffic through the EU airport network increased by 158% during January 2022 compared to the same period last year (January 2021). It has been noted that the positive trend has been recorded as most EU countries have already relaxed their travel rules.
“The positive thing is that we are now out of these dynamics. Travel regulations are finally in line, allowing fully vaccinated people to travel freely again in and out of Europe, and local restrictions are also being eased across the continent,” Jankovi?
Now that the majority of EU countries have lifted some of their travel restrictions, the volume of passenger traffic is expected to increase further over the coming months, especially during the month of April.
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