EUROPE. Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has released its air traffic report for July 2022. The most noted growth came from the majors (the top five European airports), which experienced a doubling of passenger traffic (+100.3%) compared to July 2021. This was largely driven by leisure intra-European and transatlantic demand.

Istanbul (+61.4%) remained the busiest European airport with 6.74 million passengers. It was the only major exceeding pre-pandemic (July 2019) passenger volumes (+5.5%).

The resurgence of traffic continued at Heathrow Airport, as the top five European airports all made huge gains in July compared to the same month of 2021

Türkiye’s main gateway was followed by London Heathrow with passenger volumes more than tripling (+317.8%) compared to July 2021, followed by Paris CDG (+97.1%), Amsterdam Schiphol (+70.9%) and Frankfurt (+76.5%).

While these numbers remained down from July 2019, ACI said this was mostly a reflection of continued travel restrictions to parts of Asia.

Among other hubs and large airports Madrid (+96.6%) was less than 200 passengers short of overtaking Frankfurt for fifth spot. London Gatwick (+677%) experienced exponential growth in passenger traffic, while Manchester (+482.9%), Dublin (+366%) and London Stansted (+258.6%) all shone.

Close to matching pre-pandemic July 2019 numbers were the leisure-demand driven airports of Paris Orly (-1%), Palma de Mallorca (-1.8%), Athens (-4.9%) and Lisbon (-5.4%).

Frankfurt Airport narrowly held on to fifth place in the passenger rankings for July, just ahead of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport

The report also showed a +70.4% increase year-on-year in passenger traffic across the European airport network. This was driven largely by international traffic. While still down from July 2019, it represents a solid month-on-month improvement.

Airports in the EU+ markets of EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK experienced almost double passenger traffic (+94.3%) in July compared to the same month last year. The biggest increases were Ireland (+386.5%), the UK (+349.6%), Finland (+268.5%), Slovakia (+167.1%) and Iceland (+146.8%).

Olivier Jankovec called for the EU to bring its airport slots rules back to normal

Airports in Greece, Luxembourg and Iceland achieved a full recovery when compared to July 2019 figures. Those farthest away from full recovery included Slovenia, Finland, Bulgaria and Germany.

In comparison passenger traffic at airports in the rest of Europe only grew by +10.8% year-on-year in July. The list of countries includes Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Türkiye, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  

ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said: July has kept delivering a much-needed boost in passenger traffic for most of Europes airports, driven predominantly by leisure travel, as well as ultra low cost carriers expanding capacity well above pre-pandemic levels.” 

He added that as the EU+ market is driving recovery and traffic volumes, “it is essential that the EU brings its airport slots rules back to normal, requiring airlines to effectively use these slots for 80% of the time during the forthcoming winter season”.

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