Mobility restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 reduced passenger traffic by 98.9% in May


12 June 2020

  • The ban on travel due to the state of emergency has remained in force throughout the month and entry to Spain has been limited, with restrictions also in place outside the country
  • Freight traffic at 45,074 tons handled was down by 47.3%
  • The airlines have resumed their commercial offer for late June and early July in view of the lifting of restrictions on travel in Spain and Europe
  • Aena will support the Ministry of Health in passenger health checks at the network’s airports
  • The airport operator is implementing all EASA recommendations at its airports

The airports in Aena’s network closed May with 267,671 passengers, a fall of 98.9% compared to the same month last year. The figures reflect the stoppage of travel by people to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Out of the total number of passengers, 256,072 were commercial passengers with 158,257 on domestic flights, 97.8% less than in May 2019, and 97,815 on international routes, down by 99.4%.

In May, Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport had the highest number of passengers in the network at 81,263 travellers, which is a 98.4% decrease over the same month in 2019. It is followed by Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat, with 46,962 (-99%); Gran Canaria, with 30,917 (-96.7%); Palma de Mallorca, with 22,764 (-99.3), and Tenerife Norte, with 21,693 (-95.6%).

As for the number of operations, there were 17,686 aircraft movements in Aena’s airport network in May, 91.7% less than in the same month in the previous year.

The airport with the highest number of movements was Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas with a total of 2,995 (-92%), followed by Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat with 1,777 flights (-94.3%); Gran Canaria with 1,473 (-84.6%); Palma de Mallorca with 1,009 (-95.6%); and Tenerife Norte with 992 (-84.5%).

Airlines are beginning to schedule an increase in their operations for late June and the trend has become more prominent from July onwards. This change may well reflect an improvement in traffic expectations for the peak summer months based on the end of the restrictions in Spain and on the arrival of passengers from abroad.


As far as goods are concerned, 45,074 tons of freight were handled throughout the network in May, 47.3% less than in the same month in 2019 due to the fact that a very significant part of regular freight is carried in commercial passenger planes.

The four airports with the highest freight traffic were Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas with 26,031 tons (-41.9%); Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat with 6,444 tons (-55.9%); Vitoria with 4,463 tons (-21.1%); and Zaragoza with 3,895 tons (-69.7%).

Safe airports

Aena is working in conjunction with the Spanish Government’s health and transport authorities and other aviation industry stakeholders both domestically and internationally to ensure the safety of passengers and workers during operational and mobility recovery.

At present and following the recommendations of the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) which have been enacted in Spain by Royal Decree Act 21/2020 of 9 June, Aena is continuing with the implementation of safety protocols in all airports in its network. These protocols include measures for cleaning and disinfection, safety distance, protective equipment, signage and information, communication, process adjustment and infrastructure adaptation.

The ultimate purpose of all these measures is to protect passengers and workers and build confidence with a view to safely resuming traffic as soon as possible and enabling travel, tourism and economic activity once airlines have announced the resumption of their commercial operations for late June and early July.

In this respect, the company is drawing up an agreement with the Ministry of Health’s Border Health service which sets out the terms under which it will cooperate in running health checks at the airports in its network. This means Aena will support the installation and use of thermographic cameras and the technological development of the passenger location register with human and technological resources.

The Ministry of Health will have sole authority over health issues and the use of the health data gathered while carrying out these health checks.

Aena was also the first airport operator to join the EASA pilot test initiative to monitor the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures at four airports: Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca and Gran Canaria.