A EUROPEAN UNION survey suggests that flights to and from Alicante-Elche airport have now collapsed to levels last seen in 1973.

Airport operator, Aena, has predicted that passenger numbers will take until at least 2023 to recover due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Eurostats group which compiles data for the European Commission says that just 38 services are currently scheduled at the airport, a 70 per drop on the normal winter programme.

Around 80 per cent of Alicante-Elche’s flights are international and it was ranked in the top 50 of Europe’s busiest airports.

Jet2 have pulled the plug until next year, while Ryanair has cut its winter programme by 60 per cent, although it is boosting some domestic routes, especially to the Canary Islands and northern Spain.

It’s projected that passenger numbers at Alicante-Elche airport will close the year at around four million, similar to figures in the mid-nineties.

Last year, the facility at El Altet recorded a seventh-successive year of growth as it ended 2019 with numbers topping 15 million travellers.

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