Experts predict that Alicante-Elche airport will not recover its pre covid passenger figures of 15 million until at least 2026.
Figures from Spain’s airport management authority AENA reveal a slow recovery in air traffic and rules out any growth over the next five years. The Airport Regulation Document (DORA), published last week, is a 176 page study of the air transport industry with detailed projections for the 2022-2026 period. The DORA projects that it will take at least five years for Alicante airport to rebuild the 15 million passenger traffic that it enjoyed in 2019, before Covid 19 hit.
The document also takes stock of the airport’s figures pre pandemic. In 2020, it lost 11 million passengers breaking the best streak in its history which began in 2017 with 13.7 million passengers, rising to 13.8 million in 2018 and the record 15 million in 2019.
The document lists a series of actions to be carried out to ensure recovery, focusing on operational safety and investment.
AENA’s forecasts estimate that Alicante-Elche airport will handle 10,234,340 million passengers in the year 2022 but there is still a long way to go to fully recover. The airport is one of the largest in the country and the most important tourist gateway for the Valencian Community. Alicante airport currently has the capacity to handle up to 19 million passengers – Valencia can handle 10.5m – and neither airport is expected to reach capacity in the next five years.
The report also details a €56m investment for a series of improvements at Alicante airport, which currently handles around 39 aircraft per hour. Madrid airport is set to receive €404m while the Balearic airports will receive €361m.