Airports Council International (ACI) Europe revised its recovery forecast after airports around the continent only saw a marginal increase in traffic in June 2020, despite the slowly lifting travel restrictions within the European Union (EU) and Schengen zone.

Europe’s airports only saw 16.8 million passengers in June 2020, a drop-off of 93% compared to the same month in 2019, according to ACI. While traffic slowly recovered compared to May, the Director General of ACI Europe Olivier Jankovec remarked that “it’s a slower pace than we had hoped for.” In May 2020, the number of travelers crossing the gates in European airports dropped off by as much as 98%.

Initial data also indicates that July 2020 is set to only recover 19% of last year’s traffic, according to Jankovec, while ACI Europe envisioned a recovery of 30%.

“This is down to the still incomplete lifting of travel restrictions within the EU and Schengen area and the UK - as well as the permanence of travel bans for most other countries,” added the Director General.

Due to the slower recovery than previously expected, the council adjusted its long-term forecast. Now, ACI expects that 2019 levels of traffic would only recover in 2024. Previously it forecasted for the recovery to happen a year earlier.

“The fact that EU and Schengen states have not yet managed to effectively coordinate and align over their travel policies does not help, as it is not conducive to restoring confidence in travel and tourism in the middle of the peak Summer season,” commented Jankovec.

In 2020 alone, Europe’s airports are set to lose 64% of traffic or 1.57 billion passengers, according to the council. Total revenues at airports are set to plummet as much as $36.9 billion (€32.4 billion), indicated ACI Europe.

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