Airport operator Aena said this morning passenger traffic at its Spanish terminals surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in January.

At almost 17 million, the number of passengers at Spanish airports in January was 2.1% higher than in the same month in 2019.

With the end of COVID-19 restrictions, tourism rebounded and passenger traffic has come back strongly since last summer. Last week, Spain finally scrapped the obligation to wear masks in public transport.

Spain´s tourism industry has recovered faster than in other European countries. ACI Europe, the body that represents airports in the region, in December pushed back to 2025 the full recovery of passenger volumes from 2024, as previously forecast.

Europe’s 2022 airport traffic jumped 98% year-on-year but it was still 21% below levels seen in 2019, the trade association reported last week.

According to Heathrow Airport’s last data, over 55 million people have travelled through one of European busiest airports so far in 2022, which is still less than 70% the volume in 2019.

The busiest airport in Spain was Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez Barajas, with more than 4 million passengers, 1.1% more than in January 2019.

In the first month of 2023, 156,500 aircraft were handled, representing a 98% recovery compared to January 2019, and 74,547 tons of cargo were moved, or 96% of amount four years ago.