A "full” post-pandemic recovery of European airports has been pushed back from 2024 to 2025, the Airports Council International Europe said Tuesday.
Revising its passenger traffic forecast for the European airport network, the council said "passenger volumes in 2023 are set to fall -9% below pre-pandemic (2019) levels."
A forecast released in May had pointed to 2024 as a year of full recovery.
"Passenger traffic has made a strong comeback since last spring and has so far been very resilient in the face of increasing geopolitical and economic headwinds," said Olivier Jankovec, the director general of ACI Europe.
"However, we now expect the passenger traffic recovery to level off moving forwards, with the timeline pushed to 2025 before Europe’s airports finally get back to where they stood before COVID-19 hit," Jankovec stated.
He underlined that airports will miss 220 million passengers in 2023, meaning the volumes "will only match 2017 levels."
Continued geopolitical tensions and the war in Ukraine, inflation, higher regulatory costs, tight capacity management mainly by full-service carriers, and travel restrictions to China are among factors that will limit further traffic growth, the statement said.
"We expect several airport markets – especially those relying predominantly on tourism – to exceed their pre-pandemic passenger volumes as soon as next year. But many others will not fare so well and take much longer to recover," Jankovec said.
He added that once the lingering impact of coronavirus is finally gone, European airports will face "higher levels of risk than in the past."
"Our regulators must reflect and fully account for this," he said.
Source: Anadolu Agency