Airports Council International, ACI Europe, through its latest air traffic report, revealed that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the airport industry, 1.4 billion passengers were lost in 2021 compared to 2019.
Although passenger traffic increased by 37 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, the numbers are still 59 per cent lower than the level recorded in 2019 as many people were unable to travel due to the strict restrictions imposed in the European Union / Schengen. region and further in the world.
“After losing 1.72 billion passengers in 2020, we all had high hopes for a strong recovery in 2021. But last year proved another difficult, as Europe’s airports lost another 1.4 billion passengers compared to 2019. This means that they are still under great pressure. “With an overall financial weakness in our industry,” said ACI Europe Managing Director, Olivier Jankovic.
Although passenger traffic was finally improving in November, it bounced back again in December as the Omicron variant was spreading rapidly across the world.
The impact of the Omicron variant was primarily seen in the EU+ market, where airports saw a -44.1 percent drop in passenger traffic in December compared to -38.1 percent in November, TheSchengen.com reports.
Commenting on the situation of airports that prevailed in Europe during the last month of 2021, Jankovi? said this was a result of travel bans and restrictions recklessly imposed by governments.
“However, these travel restrictions have done nothing to stop the spread of Omicron, as was recognized only last week by the World Health Organization, as evidenced by the recent Oxera & Edge Health 3 report looking at the situation in the UK,” Jankovic added. .
Regarding the activity of only airports present in the EU+ market, ACI revealed that they saw a 29.2 percent increase in passenger traffic compared to last year.
However, last year’s figures recorded in the EU+ market remained 64.6 percent lower than those recorded during the pre-pandemic period.
Compared to 2019, the strongest annual results in the EU+ market came from airports in Greece (-46.8 per cent), Romania (-52.7 per cent), Luxembourg (-53.9 per cent), Cyprus (55.6%) and Bulgaria (55.9%). Spain (-56.4 percent), Portugal (57.9 percent).
On the other hand, it was revealed that airports in the rest of Europe significantly outperformed the European average, with passenger traffic increasing by 59.4 percent in 2021 compared to 2020 and only 34.4 percent remaining below pre-pandemic levels.
Consequently, this has led to less stringent travel and lockdown restrictions.
Previously, SchengenVisainfo.com reported that the World Tourism Council expects a strong recovery in travel and tourism in the European Union in 2022. Summer bookings have exceeded the 2021 level by 80% so far.