European airport traffic a ‘hair’s breadth away’ from full Covid recovery

European airline passenger levels rebounded close to pre-pandemic levels in April, according to new data. 

Airports trade body ACI Europe reported an 8.5% year-on-year increase, resulting in traffic standing at just 0.2% below the equivalent 2019 figure.

This was described as being a “hair’s breadth away” from a full recovery.

The overall improvement came despite geopolitics resulting in the total loss of passenger traffic at Ukrainian airports and significant decreases at airports in Israel (down 42%) and Russia (down 22%).

Among the best performers were airports predominantly relying on leisure and VFR demand, with Italy (up 13.9%) and Spain (up 10.8%) expanding on their pre-pandemic volumes, followed by the UK (down 3.9%), France (down 6.9%) and further behind Germany (down 19.2%).

Airports in Greece, Croatia, Poland, Malta, Iceland, Luxembourg and Portugal all showed an improved performance.

However, those in Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Sweden remained the farthest from recovering their pre-pandemic volumes.

The major hubs reporting the highest increases in traffic over April 2019 were Istanbul, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and Heathrow.

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