European Airport Traffic Drops 13.5%, Revenues Could Plummet $113bn

flights French Riviera

The Union of French Airports reported a 20% drop in passenger traffic since the beginning of March, although official figures are not usually released until the end of the month.

In Europe, the drop in airport traffic was 13.5% in the first three months of the year, according to ACI Europe, which groups 500 airports in 46 countries.

After Paris, Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport is the largest airport in France in terms of passenger volume, with passenger traffic up by 4.1% to 13.85 million travelers in 2018.

An U.S. industry trade group told the New York Times that the coronavirus could wipe out "between $63 billion and $113 billion in worldwide airline revenues this year." This would be the worst threat to face the aviation industry since Sept. 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, the European Commission announced on Tuesday that it will “very quickly” introduce “airport slot legislation” allowing airlines to keep their times without having to operate empty flights Airlines must use at least 80% of the slots allocated to them at airports, failing which they will lose their rights the following season.

The International Air Transport Association and the European association of managers of these slots, in particular, have called for a suspension of these rules.

Emmanuel Macron welcomed the European Commission's decision: “These empty flights are an economic and even more ecological heresy,” he commented after the first videoconference summit in EU history, “relevant from a health and environmental point of view.”

Air France announced Tuesday that it had reduced its service to Italy by 50% (against 30% previously) and Ryanair and low-cost Wizz Air suspended all its flights to Italy