Airports in Europe facing insolvency if passenger traffic does not pick up

28 October 2020 (Last Updated October 28th, 2020 17:29)

An estimated 193 airports in Europe face insolvency in the months to come if passenger traffic does not pick up by the end of the year, according to ACI Europe.

An estimated 193 airports in Europe face insolvency in the months to come if passenger traffic does not pick up by the end of the year, according to ACI Europe.

These airports provide around 277,000 jobs and account for €12.4bn of European GDP.

Given the threat of airport closure, ACI Europe has urged governments to step up support for airports as Europe faces the risk of a collapse of part of its air transport system.

According to the data, there has been a year-on-year decrease of 73% in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports in September.

There has been a loss of an additional 172.5 million passengers in September, taking the total volume of lost passengers since the beginning of this year to 1.29 billion.

Passenger traffic was 75% down from the same period last year as of mid-October. This reached an 80% decrease for airports in the EU / EEA / Switzerland / UK footprint, indicating a downward trajectory.

According to ACI Europe’s latest forecast, the permanence of stringent restrictions to international travel in the upcoming season has only worsened the traffic outlook.

Several airlines have cut down their capacity plans for the remainder of the year, as well as into the next year.

ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: “In the midst of a second wave, ensuring safe air travel continues to be our primary concern. It’s crucial that we reduce the risks of importation and dissemination as much as possible. But surely we can do a much better job of reducing those risks by testing air passengers rather than with quarantines that cannot be enforced.

“The figures published today paint a dramatically bleak picture. 8 months into the crisis, all of Europe’s airports are burning through cash to remain open, with revenues far from covering the costs of operations, let alone capital costs. Governments’ current imposition of quarantines rather than testing is bringing Europe’s airports closer to the brink with every day that passes.”