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European April passenger traffic up 4.6% but freight down -6.2%

Posted 19 June 2019 · Add Comment

European airport trade association, ACI EUROPE today releases its traffic report for April 2019, during which average passenger traffic in geographical Europe grew by +4.6% compared with the same month last year.

The EU market led the passenger growth dynamic, with airports throughout the bloc posting an average increase of +5.9%. This performance reflected in part the Easter holidays starting later (in April) this year as well as the fact that air traffic in France was badly hit by strikes at Air France in the same month last year.

Passenger traffic was particularly strong (double-digit growth) at airports in Croatia (+25.6%), Austria (+22.8%), Latvia (+13.4%), Estonia (+11.5%) and Malta (+10.2%), while those in France, Portugal, Luxembourg, Hungary, Ireland and Greece significantly outperformed the EU average. Conversely, passenger traffic fell significantly at airports in Sweden (-6.5%) and Bulgaria (-3.4%). 

Airports in the non-EU market registered almost flat passenger traffic at +0.2%, as a result of decreasing volumes in Iceland (-27%, compared to +5% in April last year - due to the bankruptcy of WOW), Turkey (-5.7%, compared to +13.9% in April last year – due to the economic recession), Norway (-5.1%, mainly due to Norwegian contracting) and Moldova (-2.8%) - as well as nearly no gains at Swiss airports (+0.4%).

However, airports in Ukraine, Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro registered double digit-growth, while growth was also very dynamic at Russian and Israeli airports. 

The Majors (top 5 European airports) saw passenger traffic increasing by just +1.4% in April.

This is due in part to the composition of the league being temporarily altered by the opening of new Istanbul airport (which was assigned the IST ICAO airport code) and traffic transfers from Istanbul-Ataturk airport (now designated under the ICAO airport code ISL), which were completed on 7 April. As a result, the total volume of traffic for the month is divided between the 2 airports, resulting in a temporary decline for IST (No. 7), a much lower ranking for ISL (No. 61) and Madrid-Barajas joining the league (No. 5).

Amongst the Majors, the best performance was achieved by Paris-CDG (+12.9% - partly boosted by its weak performance last year due to strikes at Air France), followed by Frankfurt and Madrid (both +5.2%) and capacity constrained London-Heathrow (+3.3%) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (+1.4%).  

Amongst other capital & large airports, the best results were achieved by Berlin-Tegel (+26.7%), Vienna (+26.6%), Kiev-Boryspil (+22.4%), Antalya (+22.3%), Moscow- Vnukovo (+16%), Dusseldorf (+14.6%), Palma de Mallorca (+14.3%), Tirana (+13.1%), Moscow-Sheremetyevo (+12.6%), Tallinn (+11.5%), Zagreb (+10.6%) and Warsaw (+10%).

Several regional airports also posted impressive results, including Zadar (+63.4%), Kos (+50.7%), Dubrovnik (+39%), Nantes (+36.5%), Mykonos (+32%), Brest (+30%), Split (+26%), Ostend (+21.5%), Sevilla (+21.4%) and Bordeaux (+17.8%) and Krakow (+16.5%). However, smaller regional airports (below 5 million passengers/annum) significantly underperformed the European average at +1%.

Freight traffic fell by -6.2% in April across the European airport network – the sharpest monthly decrease since January 2012. While freight traffic at EU airports kept falling for the 6th month in a row with a decrease of -6.2% in April, it also turned negative at non-EU ones at -5.9%. Amongst the top 10 European airports for freight traffic only 2 posted volume gains: Madrid (+3.0%) and Liège (+0.4%).

Aircraft movements were up +2.1% - increasing by +3.5% in the EU market and falling by -2.3% in the non-EU bloc.

During the month of April, 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 +4.1%, +6.5%, +5.4% and +2.1%.

The airports that reported the highest increases in passenger traffic during April 2019 (compared with April 2018) are as follows:

GROUP 1:     Vienna (+26.6%), Antalya (+22.3%), Palma de Mallorca (+14.3%), Paris CDG (+12.9%), Moscow SVO (+12.6%)

GROUP 2:     Berlin TXL (+26.7%), Kiev (+22.4%), Moscow VKO (+16%), Dusseldorf (+14.6%) and Stuttgart (+13.7%)

GROUP 3:     Nantes (+36.5%), Seville (+21.4%), Bordeaux (+17.8%), Rhodes (+17.2%) and Krakow (+16.5%)

GROUP 4:    Ohrid (+144.5%), Zadar (+63.4%), Bucharest BBU (+51.1%), Kos (+50.7%) and Caen (+48.2%)

The 'ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report – April 2019 includes 236 airports in total representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic.

ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Reports are unique in that they are the only ones to include all types of airline passenger flights to, from and within Europe: full service, low cost, charter and others.

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