As reported, numerous airports in Europe have taken measures to manage the sharp influx of passengers over the peak summer holiday period with London Heathrow attracting criticism from its airline partner, Emirates, for capping the number of its passengers flights.
The Dutch Government has announced plans to permanently reduce passenger capacity at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, while Manchester Airport, London Stansted, Dublin and Frankfurt have all reported long queues at check-in and security and have warned passengers to arrive at the airports well in advance of their flights.
ACI Europe says the continent-wide increase was predominantly driven by international traffic (+381.2%) rather than domestic traffic (+88.5%).
It was also very much concentrated in the second quarter (+245.9%) – following the easing of the Omicron-related restrictions for travel within Europe (from March) as well as for an increasing number of external markets.
Airports in the EU+ market saw by far the biggest jump in passenger traffic in H1 at +348.9% – resulting in their passenger volume increasing to 635 million from 140 million compared to last year.
Within the bloc, airports in Ireland (+1125%), the UK (+833%), Slovakia (+842.2%), Hungary (+784.8%) and Denmark (+611.8%) all experienced extraordinary increases.
Meanwhile, there was more moderate though nonetheless still significant growth in passenger traffic at airports across the rest of Europe in H1 at +58.3%.
“This reflects the fact that those markets had generally been subjected to less stringent restrictions both locally and for travel throughout the pandemic and had started recovering earlier compared to the EU+ market,” said the airports council.
“This was notably the case for airports in Turkey (+96.3%) but also in smaller markets such as Armenia (+75.6%) and Kazakhstan (+11.5%) – with airports in Israel (+328.9%) being the exception and following a dynamic similar to the EU+ airports.
The performance of the non-EU+ market also reflects the impact of the war on Ukrainian airports – with international sanctions weighing on airports in Russia (-3.6%) and Belarus (-16.7%).”
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe commented: “These numbers speak for themselves. If Covid-19 caused an unprecedented collapse in passenger traffic for Europe’s airports, the rebound we have experienced this Spring – especially in the EU+ market – is equally extraordinary.
“The fact that volumes across the continent still remained -28.3% below pre-pandemic levels for the first half of the year should not eclipse the sheer and unprecedented unleashing of pent-up demand that has occurred since March.”
Low cost carriers exceeded their pre-pandemic (2019) traffic levels in June, including: Santorini (+72.5%), Tirana (59.3%), Zadar (+39.1%), Funchal (+27.9%), Mikonos (+12.9%), Kerkyra (+12.8%), Kaunas (+8.1%), Menorca (+6.5%), Billund (+5.5%) , Olbia (+4.7%) and Bergamo (+1.1%).