European Airports 98% Uptick
European airports saw a 98% increase in passenger traffic in 2022, reaching over 1.9 billion passengers, according to a report by ACI Europe. However, despite this impressive growth, the numbers are still 20% below the pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the impact that COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry.
However, despite the challenges, the industry has made remarkable progress in recovering from the pandemic, and many experts believe that passenger traffic will continue to grow in the coming years as travel restrictions ease and more people feel comfortable traveling again.
Making further comments on the report, Olivier Jankovec, the Director of ACI Europe, stated that despite the ongoing geopolitical conflicts that arose after the pandemic, the travel sector has demonstrated its resilience.
He believes that the staggering 98% rise in passenger traffic at European airports in 2022, reaching over 1.9 billion passengers, is a testament to the overall economic recovery and the push beyond the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jankovec sees the rise in passenger traffic at European airports as a positive sign for the travel industry and the overall economy. He also highlighted the disparities among European airports, with some still struggling to recover from the pandemic’s impact on travel fully.
Despite the overall growth in passenger numbers, many regional airports still need to grapple with reduced revenue and operating costs, leading to challenges in achieving a full recovery. Nonetheless, Jankovec is optimistic about the future of European airports, noting that the industry has shown great fight in the face of the pandemic.
Top Airports and Caution Moving Foward
The report also highlights the performance of specific regional airports, with Istanbul, Heathrow, CDG, Schiphol, and Madrid leading the way in terms of passenger growth. The EU+ market saw an impressive 120% increase in passenger numbers last year, with the UK experiencing a 248% increase, Ireland 235%, and Finland 187%.
Despite the positive progress made by the European airports in 2022, ACI Europe’s report highlights the challenges that still lie ahead. Jankovec believes that there are significant disparities in the performance of large hubs and smaller airports and warns that the threat of a recession could slow down the progress made so far.
He also notes that supply pressures are likely to persist due to capacity restrictions in the structural sector. However, Jankovec remains cautiously optimistic about the future and emphasizes that the sector has adapted to the new normal and will continue to recover.
That comes as the economy pushes beyond the limitations of the pandemic. The report concludes that although the airports came a long way in 2022, there is still a long road ahead to complete the recovery to pre-pandemic levels.