- The terminal served just 112,618 passengers, 88% less than the same month in 2019, the worst monthly record of the de-escalation
The tourist crisis brought about by the covid health scare continues to take its toll on the Alicante-Elche airport, which closed in November with the worst month of traffic since the de-escalation began in July.
According to Aena’s figures, the terminal served a total of 112,618 passengers last month , 88% less than November 2019, which saw the airport to drop five places in the state network, ranking tenth in Spain, behind Madrid, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Palma, Tenerife North, Malaga, Tenerife aerodromes South, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
In the first eleven months of the year, the airport has served 3.6 million passengers, 74.4% less than in 2019 and it now seems likely that the airport will not even reach four million passengers this year.
July and August were the best months following de-escalation with 422,000 and 480,000 passengers respectively, but since then traffic has plunged once again due to travel restrictions and the near closure of the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile the situation at Murcia’s Corvera Airport during November was even worse with just 1,966 passengers passing through the terminal building, as compared to over 40,000 passengers during the same month last year, a reduction of 95.2%.
The European Agency for Aviation Safety and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have asked Member States to soften their stance on quarantines and also to consider antigen testing as a sufficient preventive measure to help restore the mobility of tourists throughout the Schenguen territory.
The EU recommendation coincides with the request of the Costa Blanca hotel industry, as well as Consell itself, who are both in favour of the antigen test replacing the expensive PCR test, which is currently priced at around 150 euros and requires the introduction of a near impossible healthcare infrastructure at airports and hotels.
However, virologists at the Carlos III University of Madrid, chosen by the Ministry of Health to establish the rules for travel, consider that, for the moment, antigen tests (40 euros) are not reliable enough to determine if a traveller is infected with covid, especially in the cases of asymptomatic people. Hence, both restrictions and the economic crisis continue to slow down the movement of tourists.
Experts in the tourism industry hope that the position will start to recover by next spring, but if the situation evolves well, the risk of infections is reduced and the vaccine is effective, the start of the de-escalation could get underway as early as February 2021, the month in which travel company’s such as Jet2 holidays and TUI plan to start their operations again.
At stake, 50% of the province’s foreign tourism with it’s annual turnover of four billion euros, which is what the British market means.
The United Kingdom also eases it’s restrictions on travel from this Tuesday, reducing the quarantine when returning from overseas from 14 to 5 days, and if the passenger takes a test and tests negative there will be no quarantine.
The British regulatory body (MHRA) also approved two weeks ago use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, making the United Kingdom the first country to authorise this treatment.