SPAIN’S airport operator Aena expects October passenger numbers to return to 2019 levels- the first month back at pre-pandemic levels since early 2020.

It says the rise in travellers will continue with carriers offering 5.3% extra seats for the winter season, compared to a year ago.

Aena says the final 2022 passenger total will be higher that earlier predictions and will exceed a forecast of 85% of 2019 traveller numbers.

Even though 60% more passengers went through its airports in between July and September compared to 2021, Aena’s overall revenues rose by just 33%.

The operator’s third-quarter of 2022 net profit of €335 million was 11% lower than had been expected but it still made €499 million so far this year.

That’s in stark contrast to €123 million in losses in the first nine months of 2021 due to pandemic travel restrictions.

Aena’s operating expenses have gone up, mainly driven by electricity bill hikes, with a three-fold increase on 2021 charges.

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