Airport trade association ACI Europe reported today (September 12) that passenger traffic for July 2016 increased by an average of 3.9% across European airports compared with the previous month.
The growth is entirely attributed to the EU market, with 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 June and the failed coup in July – and Russia also continued to register declining volumes (-5%).
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 and 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.
“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.”