Eurocontrol Warns of Airport Constraints during Covid Recovery

 - September 10, 2020, 10:39 AM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

A study into Covid-19 recovery planning released by Eurocontrol Thursday recommends that airports concentrate on reducing the effects of space constraints caused by new “harmonized” security measures that EU member states must impose. Commissioned from the Airport Research Center (ARC) in collaboration with Airports Council International (ACI) Europe and other industry partners, the study assessed the effects of such measures on passenger journey time, terminal throughput, and boarding gate processing capacity.

With input from ARC, ACI Europe, four international airports, and the International Air Transport Association, it used detailed simulations to model the potential effect of Covid measures across airport processes.

The report concluded that airports, already congested before the onset of the Covid crisis, can expect to reach saturation capacity at just 60 to 75 percent of their peak 2019 traffic volume. As a result, for the same number of passengers during a pre-Covid queue, airports will need 50 percent more space at check-in areas, double the space at security control and at immigration, 35 to 50 percent more space at boarding gates, and 30 to 50 percent more space for baggage claim. It also found that passengers will need to plan for an extra 10 minutes of departure time and five to 20 minutes more time for arrival.

The report recommended more harmonization of Covid measures to support passenger safety across EU member states.

“This report is a valuable practical contribution to recovery,” said Eurocontrol director general Eamonn Brennan. “It provides airports with a detailed set of process assessments indicating where they need to focus as traffic recovers. It highlights the vital importance of harmonization of measures for air travel, key to passenger confidence and efficiency.”