Europe’s airports welcomed increased traffic in the first half of 2018 up by 6.7 percent with Athens International Airport (AIA) stronger by 11.4 percent, European airport trade body ACI Europe said on Thursday.
According to ACI Europe’s air traffic report, passenger traffic growth at non-EU airports increased by 10.5 percent, nearly twice the 5.4 percent expansion rate of the EU market. The growth dynamic did decline in Q2 over Q1 from 12.5 percent to 9.4 percent at non-EU airports and from 6.2 percent to 4.9 percent at EU airports.
In the EU airports category, Greece, the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia achieved double-digit growth.
Europe’s Top 5 busiest airports recorded a 6.3 percent traffic increase in H1 compared to 4.3 percent in 2017, with traffic at Istanbul-Atatürk up by 12.9 percent, followed by Frankfurt (9.1 percent) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (5.4 percent).
Smaller airports, including those in Athens, up by 11.4 percent, and Heraklion on Crete, stronger by 14.2 percent, were better performers, reflecting, according to ACI analysts, the constantly changing competitive dynamics largely driven by Low Cost Carriers and non-EU Full Service Carriers. Other airports in this group include: Istanbul-SAW (12.4 percent), Lisbon (12.9 percent), Milan-Malpensa (11.1 percent), Prague (10.3 percent), Naples (24.7 percent) and Palermo (16.9 percent).
Sweden airports posted to the lowest growth within Europe at 1.5 percent making it the only European market losing passenger traffic in June, down by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, in the non-EU market, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Israel and Iceland airports saw traffic rise by 15 percent.
At the same time, freight traffic also increased by 3.3 percent in the first half of the year, marking a slight decline in Q1 in the EU to 2.4 percent from 3 percent.
“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,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general ACI Europe.
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,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general ACI Europe.
During the month of June, average passenger growth was +6.8 percent. Freight reported an increase of +1.6 percent and movements were up +3.4 percent.