Latest Passenger Numbers show UK falling behind Europe

Monday 7 September 2020

The COVID-19 crisis brought international aviation to a near-standstill, in the worst drop-off in traffic levels the industry has ever witnessed. Today, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) responded to the latest passenger figures from ACI EUROPE, showing that despite industry’s best efforts, the UK is falling behind other countries in its recovery.

Overall traffic in the EU/EEA/Switzerland and the UK was down by 70% in the month of August, compared with 2019 levels. However, data for the UK indicates that the country was hit harder, with passenger numbers down by 73% compared with last year. This compares unfavourably with France (down by only 60%), Italy (down by only 62%), and much of Eastern Europe (down by 68%).


Responding to the latest passenger figures, AOA Chief Executive Karen Dee said:

“There is no surprise that, with quarantine measures constantly changing and still being applied in a blanket way, rather than a more targeted regional approach, and no sign of a testing regime, UK aviation has suffered through its worst summer in a generation. These figures show that for our peak month of August, the UK industry’s recovery lagged behind our counterparts in Europe.

“The Government needs to work quickly with the industry to ensure that further, irreparable damage to our once world-leading aviation sector does not occur. A robust testing regime for international travellers is one solution which could see passengers return to the skies and help secure the restart of UK aviation and UK PLC.

“If the Government’s Global Britain agenda is to be realised in the coming months and years, the country will need a strong aviation sector which punches above its weight and distinguishes us from trading competitors on the continent. For that to happen, we need the Government to support the sector now, as it weathers the worst crisis in its history.”