Croatian Air Traffic Among the Closest to Pre-COVID Levels in Europe

Katarina Anđelković

Updated on:

Ivo Cagalj / PIXSELL
Ivo Cagalj / PIXSELL

As Poslovni writes, in general, the recovery of the aviation market is visible because the differences compared to 2019 are decreasing month by month – in July 2022, the decrease was 14.4%, while in June, this was 17.3%. Tourist countries, such as Croatia, are recording the most remarkable recovery and have the slightest difference compared to the pre-coronavirus situation.

According to ACI Europe, the EU+1 market, which consists of the EU countries and the United Kingdom, is leading the recovery with an increase in passenger traffic at airports by 64% in August compared to the same month last year.

The best results were achieved by airports in the United Kingdom (+178%), Finland (+175%), and Ireland (+147%). Compared to pre-pandemic levels, airports in Greece (+4.5%), Luxembourg (+6.4%), and Iceland (+0.2%) achieved complete recovery in passenger traffic in August.

Meanwhile, airports in other major tourist markets, including Portugal (-5.8%), Spain (-7.4%), Italy (-8.5%), and Croatia (-8.6%), are closest to a full recovery. In contrast, airports in Slovenia (-40.1%), Finland (-37.7%), Latvia (-31.1%), the Czech Republic (-30.5%), and Bulgaria (-29.3%) came significantly short, which is largely a reflection of the impact of the war in Ukraine and related sanctions against Russia and Belarus. Among the larger markets, the results of airports in France (-13.5%) and Germany (-14.2%) were similar, while those in the UK (-19%) still lag behind.

In airports in the rest of Europe, passenger traffic increased by only 7% compared to the same month last year, which was a decrease of 16% compared to 2019. However, airports in Albania (+60.3%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (+ 31.2%), Kosovo (+22.7%), and Armenia (+21.4%) far exceeded their 2019 figures.

Russia’s figures also grew by 5.7%. At the other end of the spectrum, airports in Belarus (-60.6%) and Moldova (-20.4%) recorded a steep decline. Istanbul was Europe’s busiest airport, receiving 6.8 million passengers during August, and it is the only major European hub whose passenger numbers exceeded the pre-pandemic levels by 1%.

Istanbul itself grew by almost 50% compared to last year. London-Heathrow is second with 6.04 million passengers, followed by Paris-CDG with 6.02 million passengers. Amsterdam recorded 5.33 million and Frankfurt 5.19 million passengers in August.

“The statistics from August show how polarised the situation is becoming for European airports as they are dominated by externalities. On the one hand, the public appetite for travel is undiminished – as the wave of holidays shows. On the other hand, there is the reality of war. It seems that a simple geographical fact will affect the stability of our members for some time,” said Olivier Jankovec, general director of ACI EUROPE based in Brussels, while the global ACI, which manages 2,000 world airports, is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, in August 2022, the total passenger traffic at Croatian airports amounted to 1.77 million, which is 41.8% more than in August 2021. Compared to August 2019, that was a decrease of 9.2%.

The total passenger traffic from January to August 2022 was 6.9 million, i.e., 83.7% of the traffic from the same period in 2019. In August, Split Airport had the highest passenger traffic, with 623 thousand passengers, followed by Dubrovnik with 428 thousand passengers, and Zagreb with 346 thousand passengers.

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