Boosted by international flights, passenger traffic this summer is back to 2019 levels, but with fewer aircraft movements

Published on 08-09-23

Passenger traffic in July and August 2023 reached 99.9% of 2019 levels for the same months, but with fewer aircraft movements. These results are partly down to the success of long-haul routes, the growing share of regional connections in France - for which other modes of transport remain problematic -, and a higher passenger load factor.

In July and August, 3.3 million passengers passed through Terminals 1 and 2 of Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. That figure is practically the same as for the equivalent months in 2019, yet 675 fewer aircraft movements were required, thanks partly to a better passenger load factor.

Fleets composed mainly of latest-generation aircraft, perfectly accommodated for at our terminals, and with better passenger load factors and even greater potential for improvement, are all major levers for reducing the environmental impact of an essential mode of transport that guarantees our regions stay connected,” explained Franck Goldnadel, CEO, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur. “2023 marks a return to pre-COVID levels and the same growth drive that allowed us to accommodate 30% more passengers between 2012 and 2019 without increasing aircraft movements. This virtuous trend is enhanced by the fact that today’s aircraft produce fewer emissions than those of 10 years ago,” he added.

An Upsurge in International Flights

The 26 new routes launched for the summer 2023 air travel season have played a key role in the summer success story. And the 3 new long-haul routes (Atlanta, Doha and Riyadh) promote the visibility of Nice as a destination much further afield.

While Nice Côte d’Azur has always been an international airport, this year’s summer season has consolidated that trend, thanks largely to a record number of long-haul routes - 11 in total, 6 of which are to North America.

Proving the point, traffic to and from the USA recorded the highest growth compared to 2019. The UK remained the number one destination for international flights (15% of summer traffic) and slightly exceeded its 2019 level over the two-month period. Italy, Greece and Tunisia were the most dynamic of the other foreign markets.

The domestic market remained strong, accounting for 26% of all business. However, the figures were down slightly on 2019, due to fewer flights on the Nice-Orly route. However, regional routes - driven by the higher number of flights available - continued to grow; they now account for 40% of all domestic routes. It is worth noting the solid performance of routes to and from Bordeaux, Nantes, Caen and Biarritz, for example, for which other modes of transport remain problematic.

Linking up the French Riviera directly with big cities in other regions, and developing direct routes to international capitals, are the simplest ways of meeting the travel needs of our local residents and all those who come to visit us. That’s what responsible, necessary air transport is all about,” clarified Franck Goldnadel.