European Airport Traffic Suffers “Alarming” Decline

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Turkey’s Istanbul Atatürk Airport saw the highest increase in passenger traffic in Group, with a rise of 20.3%. (TAV)

European airport trade body ACI Europe has released its traffic results for 2012, a year marked by a progressive slowdown in passenger traffic and continued recession for freight traffic.

The overall passenger traffic at Europe’s airports saw an increase of just 1.8% compared to 2011, with a clear divide between the EU market and other European countries.

Passenger traffic at EU airports has been in recession since October and barely grew on a yearly basis (0.2%), while non-EU airports posted a strong performance of 8.8%, led by Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Iceland and Moldova.  Freight traffic at European airports decreased by 2.8% and the overall figure for movements also went down by 2.1%.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe, commented:  “More than ever, Europe is a two-speed aviation market.  Since 2008, passenger traffic has grown by less than 2.5% at EU airports and by more than 38% at non-EU ones.

“The Eurozone economies may show signs of stabilising, but the ‘positive contagion’ referred to by the European Central Bank remains elusive when it comes to air traffic.  This reflects weak business confidence and record unemployment levels in many countries, but also the woes of several European airlines which are downsizing and cutting capacity.”

He added that although air traffic was picking up in countries like Ireland and Portugal, the 2013 outlook was still bleak, stating that:  “Our best estimate is for nearly flat growth (0.5%).  In all probability, things are going to get worse before they get better.”

Airports welcoming more than 25 million passengers per year (Group 1); airports welcoming between 10 and 25 million passengers (Group 2); airports welcoming between 5 and 10 million passengers (Group 3); and airports welcoming less than 5 million passengers per year (Group 4) reported an average 2012 increase of 2.5%, 1.4%, 1.7% and 0.4%, respectively, when compared with 2011 figures.  The same comparison of 2012 with 2010 demonstrates an average increase of 11.0%, 8.2%, 8.3% and 8.4%, respectively.

In terms of the highest passenger traffic growth in Group 1, Istanbul Atatürk (Turkey) saw an increase of 20.3% while Moscow Domodedovo (Russia) followed closely with 16.1%.  In Group 2, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (Turkey) had 8.4% growth, with Berlin Tegel (Germany) and Nice Côte d’Azur (France) saw 8.1% and 7.4%, respectively.  Group 3’s Bucharest’s Henri Coandă International Airport (Romania) traffic grew by 41% while Charleroi (Belgium) went up by 10.6%.  In Group 4, Arad’s (Romania) traffic increased by 1,236.6% while Châlons Vatry (France) saw 717.7% growth.

The ACI Europe Airport Traffic Report – December 2012, Q4 and Full Year 2012 includes 172 airports in total, representing approximately 88% of European air passenger traffic.


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