MADRID- Spanish airport operator Aena expects its passenger traffic in 2022 to reach 68% of pre-pandemic levels, Chief Executive Maurici Lucena said on Wednesday.

"I am more optimistic at present than in other moments during the pandemic," Lucena told analysts and investors during a conference call.

The number of passengers flying through Aena's airports in 2021 was about 44% the pre-pandemic level, the company said earlier on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Corina Pons and Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen) ((;))