ISTANBUL

The number of air passengers “at least halved” in March, when the novel coronavirus peaked, the 27-member-bloc’s statistical office said on Tuesday.

Restrictive measures, to stem the spread of the COVID-19, affected the aviation sector deeply, Eurostat said.

In March, versus the same month 2019, the largest decline was seen in Italy by 85%, or 11.9 million.

Germany (-62%), Denmark (-63%), Finland (-57%), Czechia (-65%) and Hungary (-58%), followed Italy.

“The vast majority of the EU’s airports with available March 2020 data registered a sharp decrease in the number of passengers handled compared with March 2019”, the office said, adding:

The number of air passengers dropped by 3.5 million persons in Frankfurt Airport, followed by Munich (2.5 million), Copenhagen (1.5), Berlin and Dusseldorf (both 1.3) airports.

It said: “Although Italian data are not available in absolute numbers, sharp drops in passengers arriving and departing were recorded in all Italian airports with available data.

“The highest decreases were reported in Milan Linate (-93%), Bergamo and Venice (both -90%), Milan Malpensa (-88%) and Bologna (-86%).”

The coronavirus, which first appeared in China last December, has spread to 188 countries and regions across the world, dealing a severe blow to air travel globally.

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