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October saw bounce in air traffic growth across Europe

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%)

BRUSSELS – European airport trade association ACI Europe 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-Ataturk (+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%.

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.

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