Many European airports will struggle to stave off insolvency without state help unless travel recovers from its pandemic slump by the end of the year, according to the continent’s main industry group.
Airports Council International Europe predicts that 193 out of 740 airports in the region will soon struggle to pay their bills while government-imposed quarantine requirements remain in place, according to findings released Tuesday. The airfields in doubt are mainly smaller, regional hubs but still account for about 277,000 jobs, ACI said.
“The figures published today paint a dramatically bleak picture,” 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.”
Airlines and airports are among the companies hardest hit by the pandemic, and both industries are calling for an international testing agreement that prevents passengers from having to isolate for weeks at their destination — a factor that’s putting off many people from traveling. Such a system, which would still require passengers to provide a negative test before departure, could reopen lucrative transatlantic routes and is soon set to reconnect Hong Kong and Singapore.
“Governments’ current imposition of quarantines rather than testing is bringing Europe’s airports closer to the brink with every day that passes,” Jankovec said.
European passenger numbers fell 73% year-on-year in September, meaning the region has lost 1.29 billion travelers since January.
In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, Paderborn airport has already filed for insolvency after passenger numbers fell 85%.