Airport body cautiously predicts better passenger traffic outlook

The passenger outlook for the year by ACI Europe suggests European airports will still have 540 million fewer passengers than in 2019
Airport body cautiously predicts better passenger traffic outlook

Full recovery to pre-pandemic volumes is now expected for 2024 rather than 2025, said ACI Europe. File picture: Leon Farrell / RollingNews.ie

A European airports body has cautiously predicted that passenger traffic will exceed previous expectations this summer, as the aviation industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.

ACI Europe revised its passenger traffic forecast for the year and said Europe’s airports will fall by 22% below 2019 levels over the full year, compared with the previous forecast of a drop of 32%.

“The history of the past three years suggests caution, especially as we still do not have an established playbook in Europe, let alone globally, on how to deal with future Covid-19 variants when it comes to travel,” Olivier Jankovec, director-general of ACI Europe.

The passenger outlook for the year by ACI Europe suggests European airports will still have 540 million fewer passengers than in 2019, resulting in a cumulative loss since the beginning of the pandemic of 3.7 billion passengers.

It added that a full recovery to pre-pandemic volumes is now expected for 2024 rather than 2025.

Although the outlook is more positive than anticipated, the airport representatives said there was still reason for concern for the aviation industry as it recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. The war in Ukraine, worsening economic conditions, and airport delays due to demand are among the reasons for uncertainty within the industry across Europe.

“Beyond the immediate operational challenges from staffing issues, there is no escape from rising geopolitical tensions and stagflation fears meaning risks for air traffic only go one direction. Down,” said Mr Jankovec.

Dublin Airport was among European airports that have been struggling to keep up with demand from customers eager to travel after two years of living with a pandemic. Large queues and flight delays have been a common occurrence since the start of the year.

These delays could continue as Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary recently warned it will be “challenging” for passengers to make it through airports during this summer as demand continues to soar for European travel. Mr also said flight prices will increase.

Some, including Limerick Chamber CEO Dee Ryan, have urged Dublin Airport Authority and the Government in recent weeks to give regional airports more routes so that aviation recovery across Ireland would be more balanced.

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