ACI Europe points to sustained recovery for Europe’s Airports

By Charlotte Turner |

Continuing on the road to recovery, Europe’s airports saw an increase of +2.8% year-on-year in 2013 while non-EU countries such as Turkey, Russia, Iceland and Norway reported an impressive increase of +9.6%.


EU airports experienced a modest increase of +1%, with traffic showing good signs of recovery in the last quarter in particular, according to ACI Europe.


“The structure of the European aviation market continues to evolve, with non-EU airports now accounting for close to 22% of total passenger traffic, up from 15% in 2008,” says ACI Europe.


“Also, the recovery of domestic passenger traffic has been lagging behind international passenger traffic – especially in those countries most affected by the Eurozone crisis and where high speed rail provides an alternative to flying.”



Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe commented “2013 has seen a steady improvement in European passenger traffic month after month, from a decrease of –1.6% in January to impressive growth of +5.5% in December.


“The recovery became more dynamic over the summer and clearly gathered steam in the final months of the year. EU airports have consistently underperformed their non-EU counterparts throughout the year.


“This is due to the continued impact of the Eurozone crisis and the maturity of the EU air transport market, where air travel is now a commodity. However, this performance gap has narrowed over the last months, and it is encouraging to see the bounceback in passenger traffic at many airports across the EU, especially in Ireland and Portugal – or even Spain and Greece.”


Reviewing the outlook for 2014, Jankovec said: “There seem to be enough hopeful signs that Europe can sustain its nascent economic recovery, which is pointing to an even more positive picture for air traffic in the months ahead.




“Yet, downside risks remain and traffic growth prospects are likely to be constrained by several factors, particularly in the EU. A jobless recovery combined with damaging aviation taxes in the UK, Germany, France and Austria is not helping spur demand for air services.


“Overall, competitive pressures keep increasing for Europe’s airports and markets are much less segmented than they used to be – as evidenced by the recent move of Ryanair into a number of primary airports. Our response is to focus on de-risking the business. Apart from controlling costs, this involves incentivising traffic growth, limiting investments and maximising commercial (non-aeronautical) revenues.”


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 of +2.6%, +3.4%, +2.8% and +2.9% respectively when compared with Full Year 2012.


Airports that experienced the highest increases in passenger traffic per group, when comparing Full Year 2013 with 2012 were:


GROUP 1 Airports – Istanbul IST (+13.6%), Moscow SVO (+11.7%), Moscow DME (+9.2%), Antalya (+8.5%) and Paris ORY (+3.8%)


GROUP 2 Airports – Istanbul SAW (+27.0%), St Petersburg (+15.2%), Berlin TXL (+7.1%), Dublin (+5.6%) and Stockholm ARN (+5.3%)


GROUP 3 Airports – Ankara (18.2%), Warsaw WAW (+11.4%), Izmir (+9.2%), Alicante (+8.9%) and Bergen (+7.6%),


GROUP 4 Airports – Arad (+172.0%), Chita (+30.1%), Zadar (+27.6%), Kazan (+24.3%) & Tivat (+23.9%)


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