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Europe’s airport traffic returns to being a two-speed market

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European airport trade association, ACI EUROPE releases its traffic report for July 2016. This is the only air transport report which includes all types of civil aviation passenger flights to and from Europe: full service, low cost, charter and others.
After a tumultuous first half to the year, passenger traffic across the European airport network in July reported an average increase +3.9%.
This growth is entirely attributable to the EU market, with the bloc reporting strong passenger traffic growth of +6.8%. While there is significant variations in passenger growth rates, markets in the south of the EU serving leisure destinations generally fared very well – with double digit passenger growth achieved by Bulgaria (+21.5%), Croatia (+18.3%), Cyprus (+16.7%), Portugal (+13.5%), Romania (+15.8%) and Spain (+11.4%), along with Poland (+10.8%) and Lithuania (+12.7%).
Meanwhile the non-EU market saw passenger traffic drop by -5.5%, with July marking the third consecutive month of decline. This was essentially due to the two largest non-EU markets: Turkey and Russia. Passenger traffic at Turkish airports declined sharply (-15.3%) in the wake of the Istanbul-Ataturk airport terrorist attack of last June and the failed coup – and Russia also continued to register declining volumes (-5%).
Freight traffic across the European airport network grew by +2.3%. Here again, EU airports accounted for all that growth (+1.3%) while non-EU airports registered a significant decline (-7.3%).
Similarly, aircraft movements were up +2.2% across Europe, with a growth of +4% for EU airports and a decline of -0.5% for non-EU ones.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said “Here we are again in a two-speed market – but the other way around this time. While air traffic growth after the global financial crisis was down to non-EU airports, the EU market is now the one in growth mode. July also confirms the fact that traffic growth this year tends to be focused on secondary hubs & mid-sized airports, rather than large hubs and smaller regional airports. This primarily reflects the fact that low cost airlines are the ones driving market expansion. But it also accounts for what seems to be a lasting impact of terrorism on external demand for intercontinental air services to Europe.
He added: “More generally, the impact of the terrorist attacks and political instability affecting parts of Europe this year has largely remained local – leading to shifts in demand benefiting other European markets.”
BREAKDOWN BY TRAFFIC CATEGORY
During the month of July, 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 +0.3%, +6.6%, +14.3% and +4.0%.
The airports which reported the highest increases in passenger traffic during July 2016 (compared with July 2015) are as follows:
GROUP 1:     Barcelona El-Prat (+9.6%), Copenhagen (+9.5%), Dublin (+9.3%), Amsterdam (+7.8%), London LGW (+6.9%)
GROUP 2:     Gran Canaria (+20.0%), Cologne-Bonn (+17.5%), Alicante (+17.1%), Malaga (+15.3%) and Birmingham (+14.2%)
GROUP 3:     Berlin SXF (+41.5%), Tenerife TFS (+23.1%), Larnaca (+21.9%), Kiev (+19.4%) and Faro (+17.9%)
GROUP 4:    Oradea (+12,425.0%), Vaasa (+627.6%), Kharkiv (+63.2%), Palanga (+55.6%) and Keflavik (+35.9%)
The ‘ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report – July 2016’ includes 211 airports in total representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic.

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