Greek airports are among Europe’s best-performing with passenger traffic on the rise and surpassing pre-Covid 2019 levels, according to data released this week by the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe).
The ACI air traffic report for April 2023 found strong demand for travel despite airlines increasing fares six times higher than consumer inflation. At the same time, significant variations were reported across destinations.
Greece’s airports were among the best-performing in April reporting an 11 percent increase in passenger traffic. Overall in the EU, traffic grew by 19.1 percent for the month compared to April 2022 but was still down by 8.1 percent on pre-pandemic levels.
Other airports reporting increases and good results in passenger traffic in April were those of Iceland (+14.5 percent), Cyprus (+11.9 percent), Portugal (+10.7 percent), Bulgaria (+8.7 percent) and Malta (+8.4 percent) – all exceeding pre-Covid volumes.
At the same time, Athens International Airport (AIA) was among the large airports posting the best performance in April up by 7.6 percent relying on leisure/VFR demand and/or budget carrier traffic. Other airports with strong performances were those of Lisbon (+5.6 percent), Dublin (+0.9 percent), Palma de Mallorca (+8.7 percent), and Tel Aviv (+2.4 percent). Additionally, Rhodes airport also marked a 39.3 percent increase in April over the same month in 2022 and was placed among the airports reporting the highest increases in passenger traffic for the month.
On the downside, poor performances for the month were seen in Slovenia (-39.8 percent), Germany (-26.1 percent), Slovakia (-25.9 percent) and the Czech Republic (-23.7 percent).
“April has brought us closest ever to a full recovery for passenger traffic. The Easter holidays boosted demand, which clearly kept defying inflationary pressures. This is quite remarkable when the increase in air fares is more than six times above consumer price inflation,” said ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec.
He went on to add that only 47 percent of Europe’s airports have fully recovered their pre-pandemic passenger volumes, reflecting established recovery patterns, notably the prominence of leisure & VFR demand, the expansion of ultra-Low Cost Carriers and tight capacity management from most other airlines.
Other key takeaways of the ACI April report include:
-passenger traffic in the European airport network grew by +21.1 percent in April compared to the same month last year but down by -7.6 percent over the same month in 2019
-performance of the largest markets reflected the leisure-driven nature of the recovery and the increasing market penetration of ultra-Low Cost Carriers – with airports in Spain (+2.7 percent) and Italy (+1 percent) achieving a full recovery
-passenger traffic at airports in the rest of Europe grew by +35.3 percent in April compared to the same month last year, with volumes just 4.1 percent below pre-pandemic levels for the month
-passenger traffic at Europe’s largest airports grew by +23.4 percent in April compared to the same month last year but volumes were still down by 9.8 percent over pre-pandemic April.
In the lead, London-Heathrow welcoming 6.4 million passengers and marking a 25.9 percent rise over the same month in 2022 but down by 5.9 percent when compared to April 2019. Istanbul airport followed with passenger traffic up by +34.3 percent over April 2022 and by +10.8 percent over pre-pandemic levels. Next in line were the airports of Paris-CDG (+19.3 percent over April 2022 | -15.5 percent over 2019), Amsterdam-Schiphol (+15.6 percent over April 2022 | -16 percent over 2019) and Madrid (+20.6 percent over April 2019 | -3.5 percent over 2019).
Meanwhile, freight traffic across the European airport network was down by 7.8 percent in April over the same month in 2022 and by 10.5 percent over April 2019.
Aircraft movements increased by 11 percent over April 2022 but still down by 9.9 percent over April 2019.