ECONOMY

Europe airport traffic plummets to 1995 levels, data shows

europe-airport-traffic-plummets-to-1995-levels-data-shows

Europe's airport traffic last year tumbled to 1995 levels, data from a regional industry group showed on Friday, with hubs in Turkey and Russia faring better than those in Western Europe.

European airports lost 1.72 billion passengers in 2020, or over 70%, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Airports Council International Europe, bringing traffic back to numbers last seen before the low-cost travel boom.

"No industry can on its own withstand such a shock,"  ACI Europe chief Olivier Jankovec said in a statement.

He added that only 2.2 billion euros ($2.66 billion) so far have been earmarked to support the region's airports, less than 8% of the revenues they lost last year.

ACI said airports within the European Union were hit harder than those outside the bloc, mainly due to the size and relative resilience of domestic markets in Russia and Turkey – as well as less stringent travel and lockdown restrictions.

Frankfurt suffered the largest fall in passenger traffic of the major air hubs, down 73%, closely followed by London Heathrow, Amsterdam-Schipol and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

By the last quarter of the year, Istanbul had become the busiest European airport, followed by Istanbul-Sabiha Gocken and Moscow-Sheremetyevo.

EU airports saw passenger traffic down 84% in the fourth-quarter, compared to a 64% drop outside the bloc.

"Helping out airports is essential to rebuild air connectivity and effectively support local and regional communities and tourism," Jankovec said.

[Reuters]