European airport trade body ACI Europe has reported that in May, passenger traffic in Europe expanded by 3.1 per cent compared with the same month in 2018.
This is the weakest monthly performance so far this year and confirms the fading momentum in passenger traffic growth.
Airports in the European Union market posted an average increase of 3.4 per cent in passenger traffic in May – a significant slowdown in growth compared to the previous months – as from January to April traffic was up 5.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, passenger traffic growth at non-EU airports remained weaker in May at two per cent – in line with their performance of the previous months from January to April when it was 2.1 per cent.
The top five European airports registered passenger growth of just 1.2 per cent. Paris-CDG (+6.2 per cent) topped the league, partly due to a catch up from the impact of the strikes that affected Air France last year in May. Growth was far more limited at Frankfurt (+1.4 per cent) as well as at capacity constrained London-Heathrow (+1.3 per cent) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (+0.6 per cent). The new Istanbul Airport (-3.6 per cent) handled lower volumes compared to its predecessor (Istanbul-Atatürk) last year in May.
Smaller regional airports also underperformed the European average, with passenger traffic slightly decreasing at 0.3 per cent. Amongst larger regional airports, the following airports posted the strongest growth: Krakow (+22.8 per cent), Seville (+19.6 per cent), Cologne-Bonn (+17.8 per cent), Nantes (+12.5 per cent), Bologna (+12.3 per cent), Eindhoven (+12.1 per cent), Naples (+12 per cent) and Bari (+11.7 per cent).
ACI Europe director general, Olivier Jankovec (pictured above) said: “The stall in passenger traffic growth at smaller regional airports is indicative of their fragility and the usually tougher trading conditions they face. As airlines are now becoming more risk averse, focused on protecting their yields and with consolidation progressing, developing or even maintaining current levels of air connectivity is going to be challenging for these airports.”
He added: “In this context, the eco-labelled aviation tax announced yesterday by the French Government is self-defeating. By hurting the competitive position of the country’s regional airports, the tax will directly penalise the connectivity and thus the attractiveness of the regions in France. In the end, it is the less affluent people living there who will feel the effects.
“All this without even contributing to the decarbonisation of air transport. It is hard to see anything else than a mix of green & social washing in this initiative – and it is disappointing that the French Government did not take into account the data that we at ACI EUROPE sent them last month on this subject.”
The ‘ACI Europe Airport Traffic Report – May 2019’ includes 244 airports across the European continent.