European Airport Passenger Growth To Slow In 2018

February 6, 2018

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Europe’s airports were busier than ever in 2017 as passenger numbers rose 8.5 percent, the fastest increase for 13 years, but 2018 will see growth slowing, according to ACI Europe.

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe said the increase in passenger numbers was due to a return to growth in the non-EU market and continuing expansion in the European Union.

Passenger traffic at non-EU airports grew by an average of 11.4 percent in 2017, against a 0.9 percent drop in 2016. Russian and Turkish airports returned to growth, with airports in Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Iceland growing by an average of over 20 percent.

EU airports continued their growth trend, with a 7.7 percent increase, up from 2016’s 6.7 percent. Eastern and Southern EU countries saw the strongest growth, with many recording double digit increases in passenger numbers.

Iceland’s Keflavik and Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen saw passenger numbers more than double, with 267.7 percent and 105.2 percent growth respectively.

London Heathrow was Europe’s busiest airport with 78 million passengers, 3 percent up on 2016, Paris Charles de Gaulle was second on 69.5 million, a 5.4 percent increase, with Amsterdam Schiphol growing 7.7 percent to 68.5 million passengers.

“2017 marks the best year for European airports since 2004, when air traffic was boosted by the accession of 10 countries to the EU – the single largest expansion of the bloc,” ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said.

Jankovec expressed a note of caution for 2018 though, saying “This might be as good as it gets and while we anticipate continued growth in the coming months, it will most certainly come at a slower pace.”

He said the European economy is continuing to expand, but oil prices are rising and airline consolidation “is now placing more market share with a handful of powerful airline groups.

“It’s not hard to see why Europe’s airports can expect the temperature to rise, as airlines get even choosier about where they maintain existing capacity or open new routes.”