The slow recovery of air traffic threatens airports

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The slow recovery of air traffic threatens airports







© KEYSTONE/EPA/DAVE HUNT


Many European airports risk finding themselves short of cash if the resumption of traffic does not accelerate in the months to come, warned Friday the general manager of the association of European airports, ACI Europe.

“The recovery is taking place at a pace far too slow and uncertain”, “incomes are low” and “airports are burning cash at the height of the summer,” said Olivier Jankovec, quoted in a statement.

“If the recovery does not accelerate significantly, many airports will simply run out of money,” he added.

In July, “the recovery was slower than expected” and traffic was down 78% compared to the same period in 2019, the organization, which represents more than 500 airports in 46 European countries, said in the statement. .

And over the past two weeks, “there has been a further slowdown” due to decisions by “several states to re-impose travel restrictions”, she lamented, targeting “in particular the brutal decision of the United Kingdom to impose a quarantine on passengers coming from Spain “.

Fall in passenger traffic

In the first half of the year, passenger traffic at European airports was down 64.2% and came to a virtual standstill in the second quarter with a 96.4% drop in the number of passengers compared to the same period last year, due to the “devastating” effect of the Covid-19 crisis on the air transport sector, she added.

At the end of July, ACI Europe, the International Air Transport Association (Iata, 290 companies) and Airlines for Europe (A4E, 16 carriers) blasted “inconsistent” travel restrictions in Europe which “undermine consumer confidence”.

Air traffic has resumed since the end of the second quarter mainly on domestic and intra-European flights, the situation still remaining very uncertain for long-haul flights.

Iata estimates that air traffic should return to its pre-crisis level in 2024.

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