Total air connectivity between the European airports is still -29 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest Airport Council International’s (ACI Europe) report.
The report also points out that as of June 2022, the air connectivity in Europe has returned to where it was in 2009, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to it, the reason for the incomplete recovery of the air connection, amongst others, is also the incomplete removal of the travel restrictions, which some countries still keep in place to allegedly “prevent the spread of the virus” in their territory. In addition, the war in Ukraine and the structural changes in the aviation market are greatly contributing to the slow recovery of aviation in Europe.
“However, this hides significant divergences between national markets – with Greece being the only country having now achieved a full recovery in its air connectivity, closely followed by Turkey (- three per cent),” the statement issued by ACI Europe reads.
Otherwise among the largest markets of the EU +, with the best performance ranks Spain with -23 per cent followed by the United Kingdom with -28 per cent, Italy with -32 per cent and France with -34 per cent, and lastly Germany with -39 per cent.
On the contrary, Ukraine is a European country that has lost all its air connections. Russia’s air link with -62 per cent and Belarus with -78 per cent have clearly been hit by international sanctions.
“This report is a crucial part of the jigsaw as we recover. Europe’s air connectivity is essential to its economic competitiveness and social cohesion. With both societal and regulatory pressures on aviation, ensuring an understanding of the value of air connectivity by all our partners is important,” the Director-General of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, pointed out in this regard.
The same source also reveals that the European market has experienced a structural change, with low-cost carriers (LCCs) now accounting for 40 per cent of direct air linkage, up from 27 per cent before the pandemic. Meanwhile, the percentage of Full Service and other operators has decreased from 73 per cent to 60 per cent.
In terms of direct connection this year, Amsterdam Schiphol again holds the first place with -10 per cent, followed by the increasingly resilient Istanbul with -5 per cent and London Heathrow with -13 per cent climbing from the position of 7th in 3rd place compared to 2021.
Moreover, the countries that almost recovered their direct connection before the pandemic started are Lisbon at -4 per cent, Athens at -6 per cent and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen at -6 per cent. London Gatwick with -8 per cent and Dublin with -7 per cent are expected to follow.