European airport traffic in July close to 2019 level

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Passenger traffic across the European airport network in July reached 97% of the July 2019 level (-3%). An improvement compared to the traffic level in June (-5.9% compared to June 2019).

Passenger traffic at European airports has never been so close to returning to pre-crisis growth dynamics. Traffic for the month of July, according to statistics from ACI Europe (European branch of the Airports Council International), is down only 3% compared to that of the same month. An improvement compared to the previous month, since traffic in the month of June was still down 5.9% compared to that of June 2019. Compared to the same month of 2022, airport traffic in July 2023 increased by 12 .8%.

Several markets are doing well

The EU+ market saw its traffic stabilize in July, down 4.3% compared to the pre-crisis level (July 2019), and up 12.7% compared to traffic for the same month in 2022. The best performances come from markets that are dependent on incoming tourism or linked to transatlantic traffic, such as the airports of Iceland (+16.2%), Croatia (+15.7%), Greece (+14.8%), Portugal ( +10.5%), Luxembourg (+10.5%), Poland (+7.1%), Malta (+6.3%), Cyprus (+3%), Italy (+2.3%), Spain (+1.3%) and Ireland (+0.6%) compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Unlike these airports which have returned to their pre-crisis levels, we find airports whose traffic is still far from having returned to their 2019 level. This is the case for airports in Finland (-31% compared to July 2019), Slovenia (-27.4%), Bulgaria (-22.9%), Germany (-19.2%) and Sweden (-17.9%). On the other hand, traffic at British airports is well on the way to recovery (-4.7% compared to July 2019), followed by French airports (-6.6%).

The contribution of low cost traffic

Meanwhile, airports in the rest of Europe managed to return to their 2019 traffic level in July and even exceeded it (+3.7%). The most impressive performances of non-EU European airports are those of Albania (+116.6%) and Kosovo (+41.5%), which benefit from a strong expansion of low-cost airlines or a shift in demand from the Russian market, such as Uzbekistan (+72.6%), Armenia (+70.4%) and Kazakhstan (+66.4%). Turkey also exceeded its July 2019 traffic level in July (+6.5%).

London-Heathrow is in pole position

Traffic in the five largest European airports remained down 4.3% in July compared to the pre-crisis level. This is particularly due to the still somewhat weak recovery in traffic from China. Compared to July 2022, traffic is nevertheless up 15.1%, in particular thanks to the strong recovery in transatlantic traffic. While London-Heathrow was the airport with the highest traffic in July and a level very close to July 2019 (-1.2%), it is followed by Istanbul airport whose traffic is the only one, among the top five European airports, to have exceeded the 2019 level (+16.5%). It is followed by Paris CDG (-11.5%), Frankfurt (-13.1%) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (-10.6%).

John Walker Avatar