European airports edged towards full Covid rebound in January

A rise in passengers in January saw European airports almost fully recover from the pandemic, latest data shows.

Levels across the airport network in Europe increased by 7% in January compared to the same month last year, with the growth predominantly fuelled by international passengers (8%) rather than domestic passengers (2%).

As a result, passenger traffic came very close to a full recovery – standing just 3% below January 2019 pre-Covid volumes.  

While international passenger volumes achieved a full recovery for the first time, domestic traffic remained 13% below January 2019 levels.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of airports body ACI Europe which released the figures, said: “Overall, January saw the recovery in passenger traffic enduring, with further growth over the past year, and international passenger traffic finally getting back to its pre-pandemic levels after five years. 

“Demand generally remained resilient in the face of much increased air fares, even though the growth dynamic slowed down or even stalled in a few markets. 

“This is adding further divergences to an already much fragmented airport market, where geopolitics and structural aviation market changes – including the primacy of leisure demand and selective low cost carrier expansion –  are shaping traffic performance like never before.”

He added: “Looking at the months ahead, macro-economic conditions are set to improve in the EU and the UK in particular, with further drops in inflation and growth in real wages. 

“Combined with consumers prioritising experiences and leisure, this should support continued growth in demand for air travel – with headwinds still coming mainly from supply pressures and higher air fares as well as geopolitics.”

Heathrow remained the busiest European airport, followed by Istanbul and Paris Charles de Gaulle 

Madrid replaced Amsterdam Schiphol in fourth position with Rome Fiumicino sixth.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.