Passenger traffic at Europe’s airports grew 4.5% in the first six months of this year, according to figures released by the European arm of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe).

First-half freight traffic across the European airport network grew just 0.5%, while aircraft movements were up 2.0%, reflecting additional airline capacity in the market.

ACI Europe DG Olivier Jankovec said: “The first half of this year has seen solid passenger traffic growth for the European airport industry. However, where as recently as 18 months ago, non-EU airports were propping up weaker passenger traffic growth at EU airports, we are now through the looking glass. The situation has flipped and EU airports now lead the growth—reporting +5.1% during the first half of the year, compared with +2.3% at non-EU airports.”
Jankovec said this “reversed trend in passenger traffic growth” was likely to continue for the rest of this year, “mainly due to continued weakness in the Russian economy as well as the impact of lower oil prices on the Norwegian economy.”
Against that, EU economies are improving, with the former bailed out economies of Ireland, Spain and Portugal making particular progress.

“Geopolitical instability and renewed terrorist threats in North Africa are also redirecting some leisure traffic to EU destinations. As for freight, the situation in Russia as well as slower growth in emerging markets is likely to keep constraining traffic performance,” Jankovec said.

For the first half, airports handling more than 25 million passengers per year saw average growth of 3%, with Madrid (+11.4%), Istanbul Ataturk (+6.4%), London Gatwick (+5.4%), Amsterdam (+5.0%) and Barcelona (+4.8%) seeing the highest growth.
Airports handling between 10 and 25 million passengers a year reported average growth of 5.5% with Athens (+23.3%), London Stansted (+16.9%), Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (+16.6%), Dublin (+15.1%) and Lisbon (+13.0%) reporting the highest growth.
Passenger traffic at airports handling between 5 and 10 million passengers a year grew 6.3%, with Milan Bergamo/Orio al Serio (+32.1%), Porto (+16.8%), Glasgow (+13.8%), Bucharest Henri Coanda (+12.6%) and Budapest (+11.8%) enjoying the highest growth.
Airports handling less than 5 million passengers per year reported average growth of 5.5 %, with Santorini (+33.2%), Sibiu (+32.3%), Cluj (+30.5%), Astrakhan (+29.5%) and Ponta Delgada (+29.1%) reporting the strongest growth.

Source: Anne Paylor