UK airports experience drop in passenger numbers in 2020 due to Covid-19
UK airports have reported a combined loss of nearly 223 million passengers in 2020 due to travel bans and restrictions induced by Covid-19.
Analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data found UK airports recorded around 74 million passenger traffic last year, less than a quarter of the 297 million figure of 2019.
Of all UK airports, Cardiff Airport (CWL) has been the hardest hit, reporting an 87% drop in passenger traffic in 2020.
The number of passengers at the airport increased from 1.6 million in 2019 to 219,984 last year.
In addition, the airport suffered an additional loss after the liquidation of Aer Lingus operators, Stobart Air, in the absence of a buyer.
Stobart Air was due to start services between Cardiff and Belfast at the end of this month.
The regional airline also plans to launch a service between Cardiff and Dublin from August.
In March, the Welsh government gave a grant of $ 60.06 million (£ 42.6 million) to Cardiff airport to reduce “a similar level of debt”.
The CEO of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Karen Dee, was quoted by the BBC: “These figures expose the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on UK airports. With passengers falling by almost 90% between April and December 2020, the economic output of airports has been decimated and a significant number of jobs have been lost. ”
Dee also warned the UK government that the “too cautious” approach to restarting travel may be “as bad, if not worse, than 2020”.
After Cardiff, Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) saw an 85.8% drop in passenger numbers while Exeter saw an 85.5% drop.
Additionally, Heathrow Airport (LHR) noted a 72.7% drop in passenger traffic, from 80.9 million passengers in 2019 to 22.1 million in 2020.
The other airports most affected are Southampton (SOU) (83.4%), Leeds Bradford (LBA) (81.2%) and London City (LCY) (82.3%).
Last month, after banning international travel for months, the UK government announced the gradual reopening of international travel at its airports to travel to Green List countries.