Restrictions on movement to control the pandemic leave a terminal deserted, with only three flights to Madrid and Palma PMI Airport on Thursday. The Government extends until April the ban on the entry of non-resident Britons
Black Thursday at Alicante-Elche airport. Three flights, two to Madrid and one to Palma. The restrictions imposed throughout Europe to control the covid pandemic have left the terminal of the provincial aerodrome with traffic figures even worse than those recorded between March and May 2020, the hard months of the confinement, in which the terminal lost three million passengers in one quarter. After a January with 77,000 passengers and a February that is going to be worse, March has brought a new and historic fact: on Thursday the airport did not have any international connections in its schedule, something that has not been recorded in the last thirty years.
Alicante-Elche airport returns to the figures of the confinement period with less than one hundred thousand passengers in January.
The “lobby” of the airports rewards the provincial aerodrome for its prevention against covid
Aena sources pointed out that according to the scheduling data they handle, this situation will be maintained, for the time being, every Thursday. Curiously, this day has always been, along with Tuesdays and Saturdays, the busiest day of the week in terms of passenger traffic. For some weeks now, the few flights with the United Kingdom have been concentrated on Saturdays, but until now, practically every day there were flights to Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels. Yesterday, Thursday, there were none, and this will continue to be the case every Thursday for some time. Today, Friday, the day will not be much better because, in principle, yesterday the panel where the departures are reported only reflected an Easyjet international link to London at 11.45 hours on Friday, to which will be added in the afternoon links to Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Dublin. On Saturday the situation is expected to improve, as airlines have concentrated their few operations on weekends to serve foreign residents.
A direct consequence of the lack of flights is, among other things, the paralysis of property sales to foreigners (residential tourism), which has seen a 60% drop in sales since the start of the year. The hope is in the summer. Ryanair announced an increase in its domestic flights in Spain from July with links from Alicante to Ibiza airport, Menorca and Lanzarote and British Airways will increase its flights to Southampton, one of the few British cities that did not have a connection to the Costa Blanca.
Aena plans to reduce by up to 50% the rents of the premises at the airport to try to stop the economic drain on the concessionary companies, which has left the terminal without passengers and had claimed a turnover of around 40 million euros up to last December due to the fall in income from restaurants, cafes and shops in an area of around 5,000 m2. Since March 2020, practically all the shops and catering establishments in the terminal have been closed, although the pharmacy and some shops in the boarding area are still open after passing through the checkpoint.
On the other hand, the Government has given its particular cut to the Easter “long weekend” by extending until April the decree that prohibits the entry into Spain to passengers on flights from the United Kingdom unless they arrive in these British with official residence in Spain, and, in the case of the Costa Blanca, that they are registered in a municipality in the province. Until now, those who had a house could also come, but now they have to be, which definitively closes the Easter campaign and delays the arrival of conventional tourists to June, because they are also forbidden to leave their country unless it is due to force majeure, at least until the end of April.
Greece and Turkey take the lead and open their borders
The limitations on flights and tourist arrivals are beginning to aggravate the sector’s bill because other rival sun and beach destinations in the Mediterranean, such as Greece airports and Turkey, are setting a date for their reopening for the month of May. Two destinations, especially Turkey, which are direct rivals. And all this despite the fact that the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, is so optimistic about the health passport and has announced that this charter for free movement could become a reality in May, coinciding with the celebration of Fitur. Maroto estimates that total freedom of movement for tourists throughout the country will begin when 40% of the Spanish population has been vaccinated.