Three Greek airports in popular holiday destinations – Corfu, Rhodes and Chania – in October managed to exceed pre-pandemic performance, according to data recently released by the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe).
The council’s October air traffic report showed that passenger traffic at Corfu airport increased by 12.9 percent compared to the same month in 2019.
Furthermore, air traffic in Chania increased by 8 percent and on Rhodes by 6.7 percent compared to October 2019.
Overall, category 4 airports with less than 5 million passengers per annum, saw passenger traffic decrease by -22.8 percent, with the exception of the aforementioned Greek destinations and five other insular airports serving tourism destinations: Sochi (+70.7 percent), Calvi (+33.1 percent), Ajaccio (+11.5 percent), Paphos (+3.1 percent) and Funchal (+1.4 percent).
However, these airports were exceptions, ACI Europe highlights.
“Overall, there was extreme variance in the performance of smaller regional airports as airlines remained risk averse and worsening epidemiological situations and travel restrictions took a heavy toll on most airports located in the UK and the central/Eastern part of the EU,” the European airport trade body said.
Europe traffic performance improves
Meanwhile, passenger traffic in the European airport network decreased by –36.7 percent in October compared to the same period pre-pandemic (2019) – an improvement compared to previous month (-42.9 percent in September).
Within the EU+ area, there were significant variations in the performance of national markets.
Airports in Greece (-16.3 percent), Cyprus (-20.5% percent), Portugal (-27.4 percent) and Spain (-30 percent) posted the lowest passenger traffic decreases – as they benefited from significant leisure demand towards the end of the summer season facilitated by much eased travel regimes.
At the other end of the spectrum, airports in Finland (-65.7 percent), the Czech Republic (-60% percent), the UK (-56% percent) and Sweden (-53.1% percent) posted the worst performance not just within the EU+ area but across the whole of Europe, along with Israel (-64.3 percent).
“This largely reflected continued or reimposed travel restrictions and lockdowns,” ACI Europe said.