L'aéroport d'Orly a connu enregistré une croissance passagers de 19% entre janvier et septembre 2021 comparé à 2020. (Photo: LC) Orly airport has seen a 19% growth in passengers between January and September 2021 compared to 2020. (Photo: LC) It

is more than a symbol. These months of August and September, air transport on the two Parisian airports has finally exceeded the 50% mark in passenger volume compared to the last “normal” year of traffic, i.e. 2019. The Parisian hubs are coming back from a long way behind. In March, the volume of traffic handled compared to 2019 was only 15.4%. In June, it was languishing at 28.8% of the figures recorded for the same month of 2019. For now, August recorded the best performance with 55.7% of 2019 traffic. While September reached 50.1%.

In detail, a very positive figure is the recovery of the average aircraft load factor. In September it reached 74.5%, a growth of 17.5 points. Since the beginning of the year, this average rate is 67.2%.

One third of 2019 passenger traffic at the end of September

In the first nine months of the year, traffic is still down on the 2020 figures. But it should be remembered that January and February 2020 were still normal months in terms of traffic. Orly and Roissy therefore welcomed 26.31 million passengers from January to September, a 5.5% drop compared to 2020. Over a sliding year – October 2020 to September 2021 – the drop is still 40.7%. For the record, the two airports had at the end of September 2019 already welcomed 82.69 million passengers.

Traffic is picking up but we do not expect to return to our pre-Covid volumes before 2024 at the earliest, 2027 at the latest

“, explains a spokesperson for Aéroports de Paris. This explains why the airport operator continues to welcome all airlines only at CDG 2, with terminals 1 and 3 remaining closed until further notice. Orly’s terminals are fully operational as before the crisis – with the exception of one pier at Orly 1, which is still closed. The platform in southern Paris welcomed 10.18 million passengers between January and September, an increase of 19% compared to 2019. A performance due to the high volume of domestic and intra-European routes.

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These two geographical segments are also responsible for the bulk of the traffic volume for the moment. French domestic traffic accounted for 19.6% of total passenger volume in September. And even 21.7% of all passengers over the first nine months of the year. Europe accounted for 47.7% and 41.6% respectively.

Intercontinental traffic accounted for only 32.7% of all passenger traffic in September 2021 and 36.7% of all traffic from January to September

. The closure of CDG 1 does not affect the transformation of the terminal, which will be completed in the summer of 2022 (Photo montage: ADP)

A recovery confirmed by the return of traffic on the North Atlantic

It must be noted that traffic to Asia and Latin America remains anaemic, representing respectively 1.6% and 2.2% of the total passenger numbers for the first nine months. But the reopening of the United States, which follows that of Canada in September, should result in a strong recovery in air traffic on the North Atlantic in the coming months. However, the operator remains cautious about the prospects for passenger growth to Asia and Latin America. The reopening of borders is indeed slower, even if countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile in Latin America, and Thailand and Singapore in Asia have announced that they are once again allowing foreign tourists.

The resumption of intercontinental routes would also allow the number of connecting passengers to rise. It stood at 9.23 million passengers in the first nine months of 2019. It was flirting with 2.96 million passengers at the end of September.

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Breakdown of traffic at Paris CDG and Orly airports

Market share in passenger volume by geographical segment September 2021 January-September 2021 January-September 2019
Metropolitan France 19,60% 21,70% 14,80%
Europe 47,70% 41,60% 44,00%
Africa 13,00% 14,00% 11,20%
North America 8,20% 7,00% 11,00%
Latin America 1,90% 2,20% 3,10%
Middle East 1,30% 4,40% 5,10%
Asia Pacific 1,30% 1,60% 6,40%
DROM COM 4,40% 7,50% 4,30%

(Source: Aéroports de Paris)