Nice Airport returns to pre-pandemic figures, but with fewer planes

The number of passengers passing through Nice Côte d’Azur Airport hit 99.9% of 2019 levels this summer, though with notably fewer planes touching down due to changing schedules and demand.  

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport saw 3.3 million people pass through its two terminals this July and August, roughly the same as before the pandemic, providing positive proof that the region is as desirable as ever to tourists.  


The one aspect that has changed significantly between the pre- and post-pandemic years is the number of aircraft taking off and landing in Nice.  

This summer, the airport was down 675 flights, a fact that has been attributed to a “better passenger load factor”, which is good news for the environment. 

“Fleets composed mainly of latest-generation aircraft, perfectly accommodated for at our terminals, and with better passenger load factors and even greater potential for improvement, are all major levers for reducing the environmental impact of an essential mode of transport that guarantees our regions stay connected,” explains Franck Goldnadel, CEO of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur. 

He continues, “2023 marks a return to pre-COVID levels and the same growth drive that allowed us to accommodate 30% more passengers between 2012 and 2019 without increasing aircraft movements. This virtuous trend is enhanced by the fact that today’s aircraft produce fewer emissions than those of 10 years ago.” 


The summer of 2023 saw the airport add 26 new routes, including three new long-hauls – Doha, Atlanta and Riyadh – which will have improved accessibility to the region.

Though always an international airport, this year has seen the total number of long-haul flights rise to 11, with six of those servicing North America. 2023 was the biggest year of growth for flights to and from the US. 


The UK was the top destination for international flights, making up 15% of the total summer traffic, and up over 2019 figures. Italy, Greece and Tunisia were also high on the list of places to travel abroad to from the south of France.  

Flying within France accounted for just over a quarter of all flights, which is marginally down on pre-pandemic numbers. There have been far fewer connections between Nice to Paris Orly this year compared to 2019.  

That being said, there has been a rise in the number of domestic flights to regions outside of the Ile de France, such as Bordeaux, Nantes, Caen and Biarritz. These “regional” flights now represent 40% of domestic routes from Nice. 

Goldnadel says, “Linking up the French Riviera directly with big cities in other regions, and developing direct routes to international capitals, are the simplest ways of meeting the travel needs of our local residents and all those who come to visit us. That’s what responsible, necessary air transport is all about.”  


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Photo via Nice Côte d’Azur Airport