European airport trade body ACI Europe has released its air traffic report for June, which shows UK airport’s being particularly badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

ACI said that the impact of the pandemic on Europe’s airports had been “devastating”, with passenger traffic down 64.2 per cent in the first half of the year, and 96.4 per cent down in the second quarter.

The body also said that the ranking of busiest airports in Europe had been “heavily disrupted”, with Moscow Domodedovo becoming the busiest airport in June with 716,800 passengers, followed by Paris CDG with 625,900 passengers, and Moscow Sheremetyevo with 622,800 passengers.

London Heathrow would normally have held the top spot in the rankings, but fell to 11th place in June, handling just 350,700 passengers over the month, compared to 7.24 million in June 2019.

Indeed ACI said that June saw UK airports “trailing their peers due to the overtly restrictive and untargeted travel restrictions enacted by the British Government”, with London Gatwick falling from 10th to 92nd place in the rankings, Manchester from 18th to 73rd, London Stansted from 24th to 59th, Birmingham from 48th to 125th, and Newcastle from 93rd to 170th.

The body also said that traffic recovery across European airports has been slower than expected, with passenger traffic down 78 per cent in July compared to 2019, and a total of 969 million passengers lost since the start of the year.

ACI warned that the pace of recovery had further slowed down in the past two weeks, “due to several States re-imposing travel restrictions, in particular the abrupt decision of the UK to require travellers from Spain to quarantine”.

Commenting on the news Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe, said:

“The recovery is far too slow-paced and uncertain. Despite desperate efforts to trim down their costs Europe’s airports are burning cash at the height of the Summer. Revenues are weak because of the combination of low volumes with rebates and incentives to airlines to attract and incentivise air traffic.

“Considering the seasonality of demand, this does not bode well for the coming months. If the recovery does not accelerate significantly, many airports will simply run out of money.”