The aviation industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with passenger travel and cargo operations taking a hit since early 2020.
ACI EUROPE, the trade association for European airports, has recently released figures for January 2023, indicating a mixed picture for the industry.
According to the figures, freight traffic across the European airport network decreased by -15% in January 2023 compared to the same month last year.
This downturn was experienced by airports in both the EU+ markets and the rest of Europe, indicating a broader trend across the continent.
In addition, freight traffic remained -20% below pre-pandemic levels, as of January 2019, suggesting that the industry has yet to fully recover from the impact of the pandemic.
This decline in freight traffic is likely a reflection of broader trends in the global economy, which has also been impacted by the pandemic.
As international trade has slowed down, there has been a corresponding decrease in demand for air cargo operations. Additionally, the rise of alternative modes of transport, such as rail and sea freight, may also have contributed to the downturn in air freight.
On the other hand, aircraft movements across the European airport network increased by +28% in January 2023 compared to the same month last year.
This increase was driven by airports in the EU+ markets, which saw a growth of +32%. However, airports in the rest of Europe experienced a decline of -10%.
This increase in aircraft movements could be a reflection of a gradual recovery in passenger travel, as vaccination rates have increased and travel restrictions have been lifted in some areas.
However, it is worth noting that overall passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic levels, and it is unclear when the industry will fully recover.