Air traffic at Barcelona airport down more than 85% on last year

Flight bookings to Catalonia plummeted 245% last week due to coronavirus crisis

Passengers in Terminal 1 of Barcelona airport, 18 March, 2020 (by Àlex Recolons)
Passengers in Terminal 1 of Barcelona airport, 18 March, 2020 (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 24, 2020 06:00 PM

Air traffic has dropped by more than 85% at Barcelona airport compared to last year due to coronavirus, according to the latest data from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, Eurocontrol.

Across the whole of Spain, a fall of 80% has been recorded while in the rest of Europe flight numbers have dropped more than 75%.

Since the second week of March the decline in flights in European airspace has increased as European states have applied more restrictions on movement and advised their citizens not to travel.

In countries like Italy and Austria the reduction in air traffic has been more than 90% compared to last year. Milan, Rome and Malta airports are the worst affected by the crisis at the moment.

This time last year, around 30,000 flights operated daily across Europe, but now there are now only 7,000, according to Eurocontrol Director General Eamonn Brennan.

Flight bookings to Catalonia plummet 245%

Flight bookings to Catalonia for the week beginning March 16 plummeted 245%, according to a report from the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT).

A clear downward trend in flights to Catalonia was first seen during the week beginning February 24 (-63%) with the cancelation of the MWC; it continued the week of March 2 (-113%) and was consolidated the week beginning March 9 (-153%).

On average, bookings as of March 20, 2020 have fallen 63.2% compared to 2019.

Terminal 2 to close

Given the reduction in air traffic during the coronavirus risis, all activity at Barcelona Airport will now be concentrated in areas A and D of Terminal 1. The rest of the airport, including all of Terminal 2, will be closed "in the next few days."

Fairs and Exhibitions hit

The coronavirus crisis also completely wiped out scheduled exhibitions for the months of March and April: 85% of fairs and shows have been postponed and 15% have been canceled. Most of the postponed fairs and exhibitions have been moved to the period between June and December 2020, according to the ACT. 

Weather the storm

The Business Minister Àngels Chacón said that the only thing that the Catalan Tourism Agency can do now is to "stop the promotional activities" and weather the storm. 

Once restrictions on movement are lifted Chacón says "the first market that we have to address is the local one." The second objective will be to "recover nearby markets" such as French, English and Italian tourists.