Airports in Greece achieved full recovery in August surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 4.5 percent while Athens International Airport (-6.1 percent) came closest to recouping its August 2019 passenger volumes, said airport trade body ACI Europe this week.
Greece together with Luxembourg (+6.4 percent) and Iceland (+0.2 percent) were the only countries to record complete passenger traffic recovery in August.
Besides Athens airport, Greece’s regional airports also recouped Covid-related losses mainly due to increasing arrivals via low cost carriers. Passenger traffic to Santorini was up by 41.1 percent in August over the same month in 2019, Corfu by 20.6 percent, and Chania on Crete by 18 percent.
Europe: August passenger traffic -12% below pre-pandemic volumes
According to the Brussels-based trade body, European passenger traffic in August marked the best monthly performance since the start of the pandemic with July down by 14.4 percent and June by 17.3 percent over 2019.
Overall in August, passenger traffic in Europe was still down by 12 percent compared to 2019 levels but up by 51 percent in August compared to the same month in 2021 driven by international passenger traffic, which was up by 70 percent. Domestic passenger traffic grew at a much slower pace up by 8 percent against 2021.
UK (+178 percent), Finland (+175 percent) and Ireland (+147 percent) airports recorded the best performance with the airports in Greece, Luxembourg and Iceland achieving a full passenger traffic recovery in August.
Coming closer to full recovery were the airports of Portugal (-5.8 percent), Spain (-7.4 percent), Italy (-8.5 percent) and Croatia (-8.6 percent), Romania (-6.8 percent) and Lithuania (-7.8 percent).
According to ACI Europe, passenger traffic through the continent’s Top 5 airports (Istanbul, London-Heathrow, Paris-CDG, Amsterdam-Schiphol and Frankfurt) grew by 68.1 percent in August compared to the same month last year, but was still down by 17.5 percent over pre-pandemic 2019.
Istanbul was the busiest European airport, handling 6.8 million passengers in August and the only major European hub whose passenger volumes exceeded pre-pandemic (August 2019) levels by 1 percent. Its passenger traffic increased by nearly +50 percent when compared to August 2021. London-Heathrow came second with 6.04 million passengers, followed by Paris-CDG with 6.02 million passengers.
“August’s snapshot shows us how polarized 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,” said Director General ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec.
Aircraft movements in August increased by +27 percent across the European airport network compared to the same month last year.