With only a marginal increase in traffic for June European airports have revised their recovery projection to 2024.
Passenger traffic across Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s network stood at -93% in June compared to the same period last year – a marginal improvement over May which saw a -98% movement in passenger traffic. Compared with the 240 million passengers travelling through their doors in June 2019, Europe’s airports only welcomed 16.8 million passengers in June 2020.
“It’s a slower pace than we’d hoped for,” says ACI Europe Director General, Olivier Jankovec.
The initial data for July also indicates we’re likely to recover only 19% of last year’s traffic rather than the 30% we had forecast. This is down to the still incomplete lifting of travel restrictions within the EU/ Schengen area and the UK – as well as the permanence of travel bans for most other countries. The fact that EU and Schengen states have nto yet managed to effectively coordinate and align over their travel policies does not help, as it is not conducive to restoring confidence in travel and tourism in the middle of the peak summer season.
In its revised traffic forecast, ACI Europe is now predicting that a full recovery in passenger traffic to 2019 levels is now expected for 2024, rather than 2023 as per the previous forecast issued in May. It also notes that Europe’s airport’s are set to lose -1.57 million passengers in 2020, a decrease of -64% compared to the previous year with airport revenues set to decrease by -€32.4 billion in 2020.
ACI also highlights that airport revenues are being significantly impacted by the fact that reinstated flights are generally achieving low load factors, with passenger volumes trailing behind flight numbers. While airport operating costs are driven by aircraft movements, the bulk (76%) of their revenues come from passengers (through passenger charges for the use of their facilities and passenger-driven commercial revenues – in particular retail).
“The financial situation of airports is not significantly improving… Considering that the peak summer season normally accounts for a large share of annual revenues and the fact that the temporary unemployment schemes are coming to an end in many EU States liquidity will remain an on-going concern through the winter. Many airports, especially smaller regional airports, will need financial relief,” said Jankovec.