The statistics released in ACI Europe’s latest air traffic report for June, Q2 & H1, show that during the first half of this year (H1), passenger traffic at Europe’s airports grew by an average +6.7%.
The report includes 239 airports, representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic. It was issued on August 9 and ACI said that is shows that the industry’s “growth dynamic is continuing, but at two speeds.”
Passenger traffic in the less mature non-EU market increased by +10.5% – nearly twice the expansion rate of the EU market: +5.4%. Both markets had their growth dynamic recede slightly in Q2 over Q1 – from +12.5% to +9.4% at non-EU airports and from +6.2% to +4.9% at EU airports.
In the EU, airports in the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia achieved double digit growth. Meanwhile, airports in Sweden posted to the lowest growth within Europe (+1.5%), due to the combination of the new national aviation tax introduced last April, the bankruptcy of regional airline Nextjet and lower outbound demand in the wake of local currency hitting its lowest value in years. Sweden became the only European market losing passenger traffic in June (-0.4%), with its new aviation tax among the factors leading to the improved performance of airports in neighbouring Denmark (+5.7%).
In the non-EU market, passenger traffic grew in excess of +15% at airports in Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Israel and Iceland.
Majors Improving and Secondary Hubs / Medium Sized Airports Outperforming
ACI said the Majors (Europe’s Top 5 busiest airports) recorded a passenger traffic increase of +6.3% in H1 – a notable improvement over their 2017 performance (+4.3%). Istanbul-Atatürk topped the league in terms of growth (+12.9%), followed by Frankfurt (+9.1%). Amsterdam-Schiphol also reported robust growth (+5.4%), followed by Paris-CDG (+3.0% – whose performance was impacted by repeated strikes at Air France), and capacity constrained London-Heathrow (+2.6%).
ACI noted that stronger growth focused mainly on secondary and smaller hubs as well as selected medium sized and larger regional airports – reflecting ever evolving competitive dynamics largely driven by low cost carriers and non-EU full service carriers. These airports include: Istanbul-SAW (+12.4%), Lisbon (+12.9%), Milan-Malpensa (+11.1%), Athens (+11.4%), Tel Aviv (+13.1%), Helsinki (+12%), Moscow-Vnukovo (+19.8%), Warsaw (+14.8%), Prague (+10.3%), Budapest (+14.8%), Naples (+24.7%), Keflavik (+15.6%), Valencia (+20.2%), Krakow (+17.8%), Malta (+16.3%), Sevilla (+26.9%), Palermo (+16.9%), Nantes (+14%) and Heraklion (+14.2%).
Freight Growth Fading but Aircraft Movements Still up
The report highlighted that freight traffic increased by just +3.3% during H1 – due to a deceleration in Q2 (+2.1%) compared to Q1 (+4.5%). Freight traffic growth in the EU was +2.4% – down from +3% in Q1.
Aircraft movements were up +3.6%, with airlines still deploying significant capacity into the market and little variations between Q1 and Q2.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe commented: “Our expectations for the first half of the year were cautiously positive, not least because of the extraordinary rise in passenger traffic Europe has enjoyed last year. But the results we are issuing today reveal just how robust air traffic growth has remained so far. Such growth is clearly putting our aviation system under pressure – with the impact of both a lack of airport capacity and Air Traffic Management inefficiencies becoming more and more acute and now directly affecting air travelers.”
He added: “Looking ahead beyond the summer, the diminishing growth in freight traffic points to the economic risks from trade disputes and their escalation. Higher prices, disrupted supply chains and wavering exports are likely implications – which would inevitably end up affecting demand for air transport. The increasing odds of a “no-deal” Brexit scenario are just adding to the stress – and could soon start weakening consumer confidence.”
Top 5s During H1
All four airport groups recorded growth During H1. Group one airports (those handling more than 25mppa) achieved an average increase of 6.1% while groups two (10-25mppa), three (5-10mppa) and four (less than 5mppa) recorded +6.6%, +7.9% and +7.5% respectively.
The airports that reported the highest increases in passenger traffic are as follows:
GROUP 1: Antalya (+25.2%), Moscow SVO (+13%), Lisbon & Istanbul IST (+12.9%), Istanbul SAW (+12.4%) and Frankfurt (+9.1%)
GROUP 2: Ankara (+29.6%), Moscow VKO (+19.8%), Kiev (18.3%), Warsaw WAW & Budapest (+14.8%) and Tel Aviv (+13.1%)
GROUP 3: Sevilla (+26.9%), Naples (+24.7%), Valencia (+20.2%), Riga (+18.2%) and Krakow (+17.8%)
GROUP 4: Foggia (+48.5%), Batumi (+45.5%), Poznan (+39.7%), Varna (+37.1%) and Lublin (33.2%)
Top 5s During June
During the month of June, average passenger growth was +6.8%. Freight reported an increase of +1.6% and movements were up +3.3%. Group one airports (25+ mppa) recorded +6.8% while Group two (10-25mppa), Group three (5-10mppa) and Group four airports (less than 5mppa) reported an average adjustment +6.2%, +5.9% and +8.8% respectively.
For June, the airports which reported the highest increases in passenger traffic are as follows:
Group One: Antalya (+28.1%), Moscow SVO (+15.3%), London STN (+11.3%), Frankfurt (+9.8%) and Lisbon (+9.6%)
Group Two: Moscow VKO (+18.2%), Kiev (+17.8%), Ankara (+17.0%), Warsaw WAW (+14.5%) and Budapest (+13.0%)
Group Three: Sevilla (+24.7%), Keflavik (+17.1%), Riga (+15.6%), Malta (+14.7%) and Palermo (+14.3%)
Group Four: Targu Mures (+845.9%), Maribor (+354.8%), Taranto (+181.2%), Kutaisi (+56.6%) and Bucharest (+49.3%).