French airports “in an infernal spiral” – France
“Passenger traffic at French airports has returned to its 2013 level! The tone is ironic. This Tuesday, the Union of French Airports (UAF) expressed its concerns about the end of the health crisis and the health of French airports. Even though it has doubled in one year (+91.8%), passenger traffic reached 174 million last year, compared to 214 million in 2019 (i.e. 81.2%).
One in two metropolitan airports (49%) regained more than 80% of their 2019 traffic, but with very uneven situations. Brittany is the region of France where the recovery in traffic is the weakest (63%), with the two main airports, Brest and Rennes, at 64.9% and 75.5% respectively.
Growing share of low-cost traffic
The UAF estimates a return to the situation of 2019 in 2025. In the meantime, it expressed on Tuesday its “serious concerns” for the health of airports. “To hold up during the health crisis, the platforms dipped into their cash flow, sometimes also having recourse to loans and putting in place savings plans, in particular by postponing investments. But today, under airport regulation, which is no longer adapted to the current situation, they are being asked to freeze or lower their prices, sometimes by 40% as in Lyon. It’s an infernal spiral, ”denounced the president of the UAF, Thomas June.
The organization also mentioned the growing share of low-cost traffic (43% of traffic, compared to 35% in 2019), which has certainly boosted the recovery for the airports which were served, but which “results in increased competition between platforms. “The risk is that we cannot invest in the energy transition and the modernization of our infrastructures”, warned Thomas Juin, calling on the State to “review the model and the framework of airport regulation” .
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