The decrease at Sofia Airport compared to 2019 is 3.8 million.
In 2021, European airports lost 1.4 billion passengers compared to 2019. All airports, regardless of size and location, recorded a decline. The main reason for the deterioration in recent months is the Omicron, which is further slowing the recovery, according to an analysis by ACI Europe, the International Council of Airports, an organization with 427 member airports.
In 2021, passenger traffic has started to improve, with a 37 percent increase from a year earlier, but the recovery is still far from 2019 levels, when passenger numbers were almost 60 percent higher. The pandemic is the main reason for the state of the aviation sector with the crisis it caused being the biggest shock to the industry in history.
Smaller, so-called regional airports are recovering at a faster pace than large ones, but are also with more than 50% worse results compared to 2019. Istanbul, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam-Schiphol and Moscow Domodedovo airports served the most passengers last year, according to ACI data.
Sofia Airport’s figures follow the general trend – a slow recovery but significantly less favorable results compared to the pre-Covid period. In 2021, the capital’s airport handled 3.3 million passengers, representing only 47% of passenger traffic in 2019, when passengers were over 7 million and a hundred thousand. The negative statistics are complemented with 3,900 cancellation requests to and from Sofia made between 5 and 25 January 2022. Despite all our efforts and extremely competitive airport charges, it is still expected that the aviation industry in Bulgaria will not recover in 2022 and Sofia Airport passenger numbers for this year will be again below pre-crisis levels.
“The recovery is still far away, although we are seeing the first signs of improvement. Despite the pandemic, we have managed to save all jobs at the moment, despite the losses we are reporting for 2021 and also expect this year”, said Sofia Airport CEO Jesus Caballero.