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Italy Records 29% Increase in Passengers in First Half of 2023

An Emraer E195 belonging to Italy-based Air Dolomiti. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | John McDermott)

Italy’s air traffic industry has remarkably recovered after months of turbulence and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Italian National Civil Aviation Authority (Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile – ENAC) recently released data for the first half of 2023, which exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.

The pandemic severely affected the Italian aviation industry with flight cancellations, travel restrictions, and suspension of airport operations. Nevertheless, the sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience by quickly recovering and adapting to its challenges.

During the first semester of 2023, air traffic has remarkably recovered. The number of passengers has surpassed 89 million, a significant increase of 29% compared to the previous year, 2022. This exceptional outcome has helped to bridge the gap created during the pre-Covid period, allowing air traffic to return to 2019 levels.

According to the ENAC website, the traffic data for the first half 2023 is quite promising. There were 741,247 movements, a significant increase of 11% compared to the previous year.

An ITA Airways Airbus A330-200 at Rome Fiumicino Airport.
(Photo: ITA Airways)

Last year, Italian airports saw an impressive number of passengers passing through for both domestic and international routes, totaling 89,303,818. Of this number, 31.9 million were domestic passengers, while 57.4 million were international travelers. The increase in domestic flights was remarkable, at 12%, and international flights saw an incredible rise of 41.5%, compared to the previous year.

Italy has a total of 41 airports that offer scheduled flights. The largest airport in the country is Rome Fiumicino / Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport (FCO) , which provides flights to 229 destinations across 74 countries.

Recently, a new international historic flight was re-established after ten years by ITA Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of Italy, which successfully operated the first commercial flight between Rome and Libya on July 24, 2023.

It’s worth mentioning that there has also been an improvement in the average number of passengers per flight. In the first half of 2022, there were 103 passengers per flight, but in 2023, this number increased to 114, an improvement of about 11%.

Despite a slight decrease of 6%, the cargo sector saw a total of 508,992 tons transported compared to the previous year. This dip is consistent with what is happening in other global trade sectors, which are impacted by ongoing geopolitical uncertainty. Despite the challenges, the airline industry remains optimistic about the future and is confident in its ability to recover and grow.

The significant passenger increase in the first half of 2023 highlights Italy’s enduring charm and emphasizes the need for innovation and adaptability in changing travel trends. Italy must prioritize its travelers’ safety and well-being while remaining committed to sustainable and responsible tourism practices. By doing so, Italy can maintain the positive trend in visitor numbers and cultivate a satisfied, growing, and loyal international tourist base.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo


  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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