ACI Europe’s January 2016 traffic report shows that passenger numbers across the European airport network were up by an average of 6.3%.
In the European Union countries, the average increase in passenger traffic was +6.9%, with airports in 16 EU Member States achieving double-digit growth. ACI says this was the strongest monthly rate in almost two years. Meanwhile, non-EU airports reported slower growth of +4.3%.
Freight traffic across the European airport network grew by +3.5%, above last year’s average of +2,2%. However, ACI says this improvement is mainly due to comparison with a weak January 2015 (-1%). The dynamic growth in passenger traffic was not matched by a corresponding increase in aircraft movements – which remained aligned with previous months at +2.2%, pointing to continued airline capacity discipline.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said “We are off to a very good start of the year in terms of passenger traffic, with airports in southern and eastern EU states generally being major contributors to what is quite a remarkable performance. In terms of the top 25 European airports, the airports of Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (+19.3%), Dublin (+17.1%), Barcelona (+14,3%), Copenhagen (+12.9%), London Stansted (+11.8%), Madrid-Adolfo Suarez (+11.7%) and Amsterdam Schiphol (+10.4%) posted the strongest growth. French airports are still feeling the fallout of the recent terrorist attacks and extremely weak economic confidence – while the Non-EU market was mainly dragged down by weak traffic levels at Russian and Norwegian airports.”
Commenting on the current prospect for a re-introduction of an aviation tax in Norway, he added: “An aviation tax is probably the last thing Norwegian aviation needs – let alone the country’s wider economy. Air connectivity is directly related to GDP and there is ample evidence to show that such taxes have a net negative impact on growth. Yet, it is worrying that the Norwegian authorities do not seem inclined to take these knock-on consequences into account. Air connectivity should not be considered as a given. It needs to be nurtured and supported – not taxed.”