I think it has been slower than needed because States have continued to impose travel restrictions that were not risk-based. They did not take into account what we have learnt from previous waves of COVID, in particular the fact that travel restrictions proved totally ineffective at stopping the spread of the virus and its variants.
Omicron might not be the last variant. So I hope we will be able to define a playbook for future variants that really takes into account the experience we’ve gone through so we will be able to avoid further harsh and unecessary travel restrictions.
Our aeronautical revenues are driven by passenger traffic and in 2020 we had a drop of 70% in passenger volumes, throughout the European airport community. Last year was interesting because although it was still a crisis year – at just 42% of 2019 numbers it could hardly be described as “a recovery” – there was a performance gap between the larger and smaller airports. And that reflects the fact that most intercontinental markets remain closed and the transatlantic market only opened in November. So whatever recovery there was, it was mainly Intra-European, which benefited more smaller regional airports.
From a national perspective in 2021 Finland was at -80%, the UK at -78% of 2019 traffic levels while Greece, at -47%, was the best performing market. The first quarter of 2022 was very much impacted by Omicron but at the end of February we saw an easing of travel restrictions. March was the best month since the pandemic, in terms of recovery, at -34%, and looking towards the summer we’re quite bullish, judging from the capacity that airlines plan to put into the market.