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The Cointrin airport in Geneva. Many European airlines have seen a hit to demand from COVID-19. Image Credit: Reuters

Paris: Nearly 200 European airports risk insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not recover, a trade association warned on Tuesday, as nations contemplate further lockdowns to combat a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

ACI Europe said the 193 airports facing insolvency are mainly regional airports which serve local communities.

But combined they support more than a quarter of a million jobs and 12 billion euros ($15.6 billion) in gross domestic product.

"The threat of airport closure means Europe faces the prospect of the collapse of a significant part of its air transport system - unless governments step up to provide the required support," said the trade association.

A number of European nations have moved to provide specific help for airlines in addition to support measures offered to all companies hit by pandemic-related restrictions.

ACI Europe's figures show airport passenger traffic was down 75 percent in mid-October, which means airports - like airlines - have trouble covering operating costs.

The trade body called on European nations to shift to testing air passengers for coronavirus rather than imposing quarantines on travellers.