COVID19: Collapsed airport traffic, flight connectivity

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Passenger traffic at European airports has collapsed by 81% along with air connectivity causing wide disruption due to the pandemic, Airports Council International said Monday.

It said passenger movement was being decimated due to quarantine-based travel restrictions

“Overall figures, reflecting data up to and including November, show passenger traffic currently down by 81% across the European airport networks, with the stark lost passenger threshold of 1.5 billion so far this year,” ACI Europe said in a statement.

It said these lost passengers, in a 1.5 metre spaced line, would wrap around Earth 56 times.

Airports in the EU, EEA, Switzerland, and the UK are currently seeing passenger traffic decreasing by an average of 86% compared to last year.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, said: “These airports are bracing with an accelerating downward trend in passenger traffic.”

“Airlines continue to cut back planned capacity in response to the further extension of local lockdowns in many countries – which are only adding further pain to the one already inflicted by severe cross border travel restrictions,” he added.

“As things stand, passenger traffic is heading back towards another full collapse similar to the one experienced in the second quarter, when volumes were down by 96%.”

Passenger traffic in the rest of Europe remains somehow more resilient, currently decreasing by 59%, a rate that appears to be fairly stable at the moment, said ACI Europe.

“Airports in Russia and Turkey are clearly outperforming other markets, due to the relative dynamism of their domestic market.”


The pandemic has turned the top 10 European airport league upside-down.

In September, the busiest European airport was Turkey’s Antalya with just 2.25 million passengers (-53.5%), followed by Moscow-Sheremetyevo (-53.5%), Moscow-Domodedovo (-26.2%) and Istanbul (-71%).

London-Heathrow, which normally holds the top position only ranked 10th, behind Paris-CDG (8th) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (9th) – with these major hubs also being surpassed by Istanbul-Sabiha Gokcen (5th), Moscow-Vnukovo (6th) and Saint Petersburg (7th).

Other major hubs like Frankfurt and Munich did not even make it into the top 10.

ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide professional association of airport operators, representing over 500 airports in 46 European countries.