Infotech In 2022, European air traffic has returned to 83% of the level before the Covid crisis

In 2022, European air traffic has returned to 83% of the level before the Covid crisis

European air traffic returned to 83% of its 2019 level last year, before the health crisis, a rebound ” solid “ pushed by low-cost airlines and destinations in southern Europe, Eurocontrol announced on Monday 2 January.

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The air traffic monitoring body, on the other hand, pushed back its estimate of a return to pre-Covid figures by a year, to 2025, citing, in a presentation on its website, the weakness of the recovery. economy, inflation and the risk of a continuation of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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European airlines and airports welcomed around 2 billion passengers last year, up from 2.42 billion in 2019, with “strong disparities” depending on countries and carriers. These figures include all departures and all arrivals on European soil.

“European aviation has weathered the storm”

Thus, Germany only regained 75% of its pre-crisis traffic in 2022, France 86%, Spain 91% and Portugal 96%. Traffic in Greece, on the other hand, reached 101% of the volume recorded three years earlier, and 137% in Albania.

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On the airline side, it is the low cost companies that have come out stronger, regaining 85% of their traffic in 2019, compared to 75% for traditional carriers.

Ryanair consolidated its first place in Europe, performing 109% of its flights last year three years ago, like Volotea. Air France flights represented 80% of the 2019 level, those of Lufthansa 72%, a little better than British Airways (71%), according to Eurocontrol. “In 2022, European aviation weathered the storm”summarized the organization.

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Labor shortage at airports

After the Omicron variant at the start of the year and then the invasion of Ukraine, “traffic still recovered to 86% (of 2019 levels) in May and remained until the end of the year in a narrow range of 86% to 88%”he points out.

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Eurocontrol predicts that the number of annual flights in its area of ​​competence will reach 92% of the number in 2019 this year, but forecasts a year ” difficult “the challenge being to limit delays, a scourge that affected many travellers, especially at the start of summer 2022.

Partly as a result of a labor shortage at airports, the number of punctual arriving and departing flights reached 72% and 66% of the totals respectively, 6 or 7 percentage points less than in 2019.

176 tonnes of CO2 to save by 2030

While the aviation sector is under pressure to reduce its CO emissions2Eurocontrol endeavored to calculate the measures to be implemented to apply the European climate package (“Fit for 55”) intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. EU greenhouse effect.

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The overwhelming majority (83%) of the gains to be expected will be based on European (ETS) and international (Corsia) carbon compensation mechanisms.

Replacing aircraft with more fuel-efficient ones, increasing introduction of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and modernizing air traffic control systems will only account for 30 million tonnes of CO2 of the 176 to be saved by 2030 by the airline sector, according to the organization.

In 2022, long-haul flights (over 4,000 kilometers) accounted for 5.5% of flights but 43.9% of emissions, while flights of less than 500 kilometers accounted for 29% of traffic but 5 .5% of CO emissions2.

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