Two EX-YU airports among the 100 busiest in Europe
According to Airports Council International Europe (ACI), two airports in the former Yugoslavia are among the 100 busiest airports on the continent. With a total of 3,285,295 passengers, Belgrade airport ranked 71st ahead of Edinburgh, Krakow, Malta, Minsk and Riga, but just behind Venice and Sofia. On the other hand, Pristina airport entered the top 100 for the first time, ranking 88th with 2,176,036 travelers handled. He was ahead of Glasgow, Keflavik (Reykjavik) and Vilnius but just behind Rome Ciampino and Yerevan. This year, Belgrade airport is expected to reach pre-pandemic capacity levels, while Pristina airport is very likely to record its busiest on record and surpass its pre-Covid results.
Elsewhere, Split Airport, as the third busiest in the former Yugoslavia, ranked just outside the top 100 at 103rd place. It is followed by Zagreb which is positioned 112th, while Skopje is on the heels by ranking 113th. Dubrovnik was the 129th busiest airport in Europe, while Sarajevo was the 132nd. Ljubljana airport, which fell into the top 10 busiest in the former Yugoslavia in 2021, was the 154th busiest in Europe, just behind Sinop airport in Turkey and ahead of Rennes airport in France. As previously reported, airports in the former Yugoslavia handled a combined total of just over 14.8 million passengers in 2021, up 97.3% from the previous year, but still improving. down 49.7% compared to 2019 before the pandemic.
Istanbul has become the busiest airport in Europe in 2021, followed by Moscow Sheremetyevo, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Moscow Domodedovo. With a 34.6% drop in passenger numbers compared to 2019, airports outside the European Union significantly outperformed the continental average which was a 64.6% drop in passengers compared to pre-Covid levels. Olivier Jankovec, Managing Director of ACI Europe, said: “After losing 1.72 billion passengers in 2020, we all had high hopes for a strong recovery in 2021. But last year proved to be a another difficult, because European airports ended up losing 1.4 billion more. passengers compared to 2019. This means they remain under considerable stress, with systemic financial weakness in our industry.” He added: “The knee-jerk reaction of many governments who ignored guidance from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and rushed to reimpose travel bans and other restrictions at the end of 2021, including for intra-European travel, has blocked our recovery. Yet these travel restrictions have done nothing to stop the spread of Omicron, as the World Health Organization acknowledged last week. The most affected European market in 2021 was Finland, followed by the United Kingdom, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Ireland.