The third wave of the coronavirus returns the Alicante-Elche airport to the times of confinement


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The third wave of covid returns Alicante airport to the times of the March lockdown
ALEX DOMÍNGUEZ

The covid third wave has once again plunged air traffic into the Alicante-Elche airport that, in addition, suffers the consequences of tightening of anticovid measures in Europe and, above all, in Great Britain from where there are no longer daily flights to the Costa Blanca. The Government has also extended, in principle until February 2, the limitation to the entry of conventional tourists to the province – only residents and with negative PCR can arrive -, which means a new hack for hotels that stay open, some empty of tourists on certain days of the week.

The terminal offers from this week scenes typical of the March lockdown. This Wednesday there were only scheduled six flights with London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Palma de Mallorca and Madrid (2). And all, despite the fact that connections had been reactivated in mid-December, as restrictions on mobility were eased. The airport has also had to reorganize its operations due to the circumstances, due to the lack of passengers. There is only one filter for the control of travelers who access the departure lounges, and many commercial establishments remain closed due to the lack of potential customers only two months (March), one year after the start of the confinement that it would suddenly end the 2020 tourist season, despite the slight recovery during the summer.

The tourist crisis derived from the covid does not give a day of truce, and the hoteliers of the Costa Blanca who work with the British market received, on the other hand, a new blow, when the company informed them Jet2.com, which postpones his return to Alicante-Elche airport until March 25, due to travel restrictions in the United Kingdom. In principle, the objective of the airline was to have returned in mid-February. A lethal decision for hotels, as the company is tied to the wholesaler Jetholidays, which, until the outbreak of the COVID crisis, moved 1.4 million tourists a year between the Costa Blanca and Belfast, Birmingham, Edimburgo, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds- Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle y Londres-Stansted.

Regardless of the impact on other tourism subsectors, the British make 6.3 million hotel nights per year, being the first market after the Netherlands, with 950,000 overnight stays per year, whose citizens are also confined, France and Italy ( 790,000), Nordic countries (665,000) and Germany (514,000), according to data from Turisme. The English represent half of the entire tourist market (Spanish and foreigners), and 75% of the foreign, although with a medium / low economic profile, but by forming a group of about three million tourists they are profitable, although the English who choose the Costa Blanca do not have the purchasing power of foreigners who, for example, travel to Barcelona, ​​Madrid or Seville. On the other hand, Aena made public yesterday the final balance of passenger traffic at the airport in 2020. December closed with 126,143 passengers, 85% less. Monthly tonic of a horrible year in which only 3,739,499 passengers have passed through the terminal, for the 15 million in 2019. The Altet falls one place, to sixth in Spain, surpassed by Gran Canaria.

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