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Aci Europe Annual Congress: traffic data, forecasts and report published

On the eve of its 31est edition

On the eve of ACI EUROPE’s 31st Annual Congress and General Assembly, the airport association has set the scene with the release of its latest traffic data, revised forecasts, and the publication of the Airport Industry Connectivity Report 2021.
Europe’s airports have lost 1.26 billion passengers so far this year - a decrease of -62% compared to pre-pandemic (2019) levels.
The continent is a strikingly two-speed aviation market: 

EU+ airports stand at -69% so far this year against 2019, with overall passenger volumes essentially flat compared to last year.

The peak Summer months (Q3) saw a significant improvement at -50% compared to 2019, as travel restrictions eased and the EU Digital Covid Certificate enabled cross-border travel. Airports in the UK (-71%), Ireland (-68%) and Finland (-78%) underperformed due to a much slower easing of travel restrictions by their Governments.

Airports in the rest of Europe have achieved a significant recovery at -34% so far this year against 2019, with passenger volumes up by +70% compared to 2020.

Q3 stood at -21%, driven by continued improvement at Russian and Turkish airports.

A closer look at the data shows that the pace of the recovery has not yet accelerated across the European airport network – with the first two weeks of October at -41% compared to -43% in September and -41% in August.

The updated forecast released today shows the passenger traffic recovery gathering pace in the coming months and into 2022, thanks to the re-opening of the transatlantic market to European travellers as well as a progressive easing of travel restrictions on other long-haul markets - in particular in Asia.

As a result, ACI EUROPE sees passenger traffic at Europe’s airports improving from an estimated -60% this year to -32% in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic (2019) volumes. A full recovery will be achieved only in 2025 (+1%).
The 2021 Airport Industry Connectivity Report released today reveals air connectivity levels still markedly degraded.
While direct connectivity out of Europe’s airports now stands at -36% compared to pre-pandemic levels, hub connectivity is still down by -67% due to most intercontinental markets remaining subject to tight travel restrictions.
 As with passenger traffic, EU+ airports underperform the European average for both indicators. Their direct connectivity stands at -39% and hub connectivity at -71%, while airports in the rest of Europe have achieved -20% and -51% respectively.
The report shows that smaller and regional airports (Group 4) have so far recovered their direct connectivity faster than others - reflecting the fact the recovery has so far been predominantly driven by intra-European and domestic leisure traffic as well as Low Cost Carriers (LCCs). As a result the share of direct connectivity provided by LCCs at Europe’s airports has increased from 34% in 2019 to 39% this year.
The direct connectivity offered by LCCs is only -10% lower than 2019 levels at smaller and regional airports, but -32% lower at the larger airports (Group 1). Meanwhile, the direct connectivity offered by Full Service Carriers (FSC) is -32% lower than 2019 levels at smaller and regional airports and -42% at the larger airports.
The Top 20 global hub connectivity league shows that unlike European airports, US airports have recovered the bulk of their pre-pandemic (2019) hub connectivity - thanks to their reliance on a vast and unconstrained domestic market.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver are leading the global ranking this year, having recovered respectively 69% and 90% of their hub connectivity. They are followed by Frankfurt, Atlanta and Amsterdam-Schiphol. Istanbul comes in the 6th position, Paris-"CdG" in the 10th and Doha in the 11th -the only Middle Eastern airport in the league- while Munich ranks 17th and London-Heathrow 18th.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency