Spain's airport traffic in April below 1% of year-ago amid lockdown

MADRID, May 13 (Reuters) - Passenger traffic at Spanish airports tanked more than 99% in April as the government imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe in a bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic, state-controlled operator Aena said on Wednesday.

The airports operated by Aena received 141,014 passengers during the month, down 99.4% from the same period a year ago, the company said. Freight volumes plummeted 60%, it added.

The number of flights landing and taking off in Spanish airports fell 94% in the month compared to April in 2019.

Aena operates all the commercial airports in Spain including tourist destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Tenerife Norte and Palma de Mallorca.

The company, which also operates Luton airport in Britain, said last month its first-quarter net profit plummeted 83% as a result of the first impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though the Spanish authorities have been easing some of the restrictions in the past two weeks, most aircraft remain grounded and international travel is likely to remain subdued by such measures as a two-week quarantine for incoming passengers, in force from May 15.

The European Commission has made recommendations for airlines and airport operators so that they can handle large number of passengers again without risk for crews and travellers. (Reporting by Inti Landauro and Clara-Laeila Laudette, editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan)