October saw bounce in air traffic growth across Europe


European airport trade association ACI EUROPE today releases its traffic report for October 2018, during which average passenger traffic in geographical Europe grew by +6.5% compared with the same month last year – a notable increase on the previous month (+5%).

At EU airports, passenger volumes grew by +6.3% in October (+4.9% in September). Austria and Luxembourg recorded stellar passenger growth, driven by Low-Cost Carrier expansion at Vienna (+18.2%) and Luxembourg (+12.1%).

While airports in several countries in the Eastern part of the bloc kept registering double-digit growth, the larger & core air transport markets of Germany, France, Italy and Spain also outperformed the bloc’s average – along with Ireland, Portugal and Finland. This in part reflected the impact ATM disruptions (albeit less so, than previous months).

Sweden was the only European country posting a decrease in passenger traffic (-1.1%), a result of the new aviation tax and depreciation of the local currency. Passenger traffic in Belgium barely grew (+0.9%) due to ground handling strikes severely affecting Brussels* (-2.4%). Meanwhile, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Cyprus significantly underperformed the EU average – with a mix of aviation taxes, currency variations, airport capacity limitations and the bankruptcy of Cobalt Air playing their part.

Non-EU airports saw passenger traffic expanding by +7.2%, although weakness in domestic traffic at Turkish airports limited gains. Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Iceland came on top, with particularly impressive growth at Kiev (+24.6%), Tbilisi (+17.9%), Minsk (+16.5%) and Keflavik (+16.3%). While the passenger traffic dynamic held on in Russia, it became subdued in Israel and continued to be weak in Norway.

Passenger traffic at the Majors (top 5 European airports) underperformed the European average at +4.3%. Paris-CDG (+5.7%) came top of the league, with Frankfurt (+5.2%). London-Heathrow still achieved notable growth given its lack of capacity, followed by Istanbul-Atatürk (+3.5%) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (+2.5%).

These robust passenger growth figures also reflected significant airline capacity expansion, with October delivering the highest monthly increase in aircraft movements so far this year +4.5%.

Freight traffic remained moderate at +1.9%, with more gains at non-EU airports (+4.1%) than at EU ones (+1.5%).

During the month of October, 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 adjustment +6.0%, +7.4%, +6.2% and +6.7%.

The airports that reported the highest increases in passenger traffic during October 2018 (compared with October 2017) are as follows:

GROUP 1: Antalya AYT (+25.9%), Moscow SVO (+13.8%), Madrid (+9.7%), London STN & Barcelona El-Prat (+8.8%) and Dublin (+8.5%)
GROUP 2: Berlin TXL (+31.9%), Kiev (+24.6%), Moscow VKO (+20.4%), Vienna (+18.2%) and St Petersburg (+15.2%)
GROUP 3: Seville (+26.5%), Riga (+16.6%), Keflavik (+16.3%), Palermo (+15.2%) and Krakow (+14.3%)
GROUP 4: Targu-Mures (+96,969.2%), Taranto (+300%), Bourgas (+96.1%), Treviso (+89.2%) and Kutaisi (+77.8%)

The ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report – October 2018 includes 244 airports in total representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic. The report is unique in that it is the only one to include all types of airline passenger flights to, from and within Europe: full service, low cost, charter and others.

Brussels, 10 December 2018


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