Almost 200 European airports face insolvency, airports body ACI says

Almost 200 European airports facing insolvency in the coming months unless passenger traffic recovers

  • Airports body ACI Europe said airports at risk are mainly smaller, regional ones
  • It added that closures to them would have an ‘outsized impact on local jobs’
  • Passenger traffic at European airports fell 73 per cent year-on-year in September

Nearly 200 airports in Europe will face insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start recovering by the end of the year, airports body ACI Europe has warned.

An estimated 193 European hubs are considered ‘at-risk airports’, ACI said, adding that they contribute to economic activity that creates 277,000 jobs and 12.4billion euros (£11.3billion/$14.66billion) of European GDP.

Airports at risk are mainly smaller regional ones with fewer than five million travellers each year, where closure would have an outsized impact on local jobs, an ACI spokeswoman told Reuters.

Nearly 200 airports in Europe will face insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start recovering, airports body ACI Europe has warned

Larger European airports are also burning through cash at an unsustainable rate, with the top 20 European airports having added 16billion euros (£14.5billion/$18.91billion) of debt. 

This is equivalent to nearly 60 per cent of their revenues in a normal year, ACI said. 

Data from the airports body showed passenger traffic at European airports decreased 73 per cent year-on-year in September, with 172.5million passengers lost. 

The total volume of lost passengers since January 2020 is now 1.29billion.

Data from the airports body showed passenger traffic at European airports decreased 73 per cent year-on-year in September, with 172.5million passengers lost

‘The figures published today paint a dramatically bleak picture,’ ACI Europe director-general Olivier Jankovec said in a statement.

‘Eight months into the crisis, all of Europe’s airports are burning through cash to remain open, with revenues far from covering the costs of operations, let alone capital costs.

‘Governments’ current imposition of quarantines rather than testing is bringing Europe’s airports closer to the brink with every day that passes.

‘As of mid-October, passenger traffic stood at 75 per cent down from the same period last year, reaching an 80 per cent decrease for airports in the EU/EEA/Switzerland/UK footprint – a clear downward trajectory.’

ACI Europe represents over 500 airports out of a total of 740 airports in Europe which have paying passengers.

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