Due to the corona crisis, airports have too little money for significant investments until at least 2032. This is because starting up air traffic costs more money than they earn from processing air traffic and travellers. ACI Europe, the trade association for airports, warns against this.
According to the interest group, this has major consequences for sustainability plans, but also for customers, companies and regional communities.
The ACI also speaks of “historic financial losses” for airports over the past year. The organization calculated that European airports accumulated more than 20 billion in debt last year. The multi-billion-dollar loans now keep the airports afloat. Despite the increasingly ‘opening’ of economies and the disappearance of travel restrictions, other restrictions still apply, such as having to keep a distance. As a result, airports are having trouble scaling up capacity and are not able to handle as many passengers as before.
“All airports were waiting for passenger traffic to recover. But this does not mean that they will immediately have their financial affairs in order”, warns Olivier Jankovec, director of the trade association.
In addition, airlines have received direct and indirect corona support, but that support has not reached the airports, according to the ACI. Partly because of this, major planned expenditures by airports in the coming years are in doubt, as are future investments in sustainability to reduce CO2 emissions. THEREFORE, the ACI wants new rules for airport charges per country and an investigation into the rules for state aid in Europe. Airport charges are the fees that airlines pay for the use of the airports.
The outlook for after the summer is also unclear, according to the organization. This is due to a combination of slow growth in air traffic, more expensive airport charges that affect airlines and uncertainty about the corona rules and how airports can recover their losses.