Problems with passenger traffic in Athens International Airport due to Omicron variant, in January
Optimism for air travel after the first quarter
The difficult start of another year due to Covid-19 is confirmed by the data of the passenger traffic of Athens International Airport for January. As expected, the influence of Omicron variant still affects air travel. The passenger traffic of Athens International Airport for January amounted to 772,700 passengers, slowing down slightly compared to the previous seven months. The traffic from last June until the end of the year exceeded 1 million passengers per month, reaching of course, in August, the peak of the summer season and 2.1 million passengers.
The trend, of course, remains increasing compared to the corresponding month of 2021, when restrictions on travel were in force. Passenger traffic this year more than doubled compared to January 2021 (+ 231.2%), but at a much lower rate than last November and December, when performance was three times higher. Compared to the last year before the pandemic, passenger traffic at the Athens International Airport fell by 44.5%.
It is recalled that January 2020, when the pandemic had not yet influenced Europe, set a record for the Athens International Airport, with 1.47 million passengers. That is twice as many as those during this year. Of course after the first two months of that year, the pandemic created a lot of difficulties for aviation.
Compared to 2019, domestic traffic in January 2022 was reduced by 36.3%, while international passenger traffic was reduced by 48.4%. On the positive side, in terms of the slow but steady recovery of foreign traffic, lies the fact that it improved by 296.5% compared to January last year.
But even the most modest forecasts from the aviation market point out that after the first quarter of 2022, the rates will go up and we will see the signs of a real recovery. At the peak of the summer season, our country is estimated to reach the sizes of 2019. A precondition for this, of course, is that no new setback occurs in the evolution of the pandemic.
It is characteristic that, according to the latest report of Eurocontrol on the evolution of traffic at European airports, in the next six weeks, i.e. until March 20, 2022, the average number of flights will gradually increase for the three largest airports in the country, in Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. In particular, Athens International Airpory from 343 flights this week, according to the report, will reach 407 in mid-March. Respectively, for the airport “Macedonia” 82 flights are planned this week that will gradually increase to 102 in six weeks, while at the airport of Heraklion, which is distinguished by high seasonality, the 28 flights will rise to 32.