Alarming decline in airport growth: ACI

European airport trade body, ACI EUROPE, today released its traffic results for 2012, a year marked by a progressive slowdown in passenger traffic and continued recession for freight traffic.

The overall passenger traffic at Europe’s airports saw an increase of just +1.8% compared to 2011, with a clear divide between the EU market and other European countries.

Passenger traffic at EU airports has been in recession since October and barely grew on yearly basis (+0.2%) while non-EU airports posted a strong performance for the year (+8.8%), led by Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Iceland and Moldova. Freight traffic at European airports for the full year decreased by -2.8% and the overall figure for movements also decreased by -2.1%.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE commented “More than ever, Europe is a two-speed aviation market. Since 2008, passenger traffic has grown by less than +2.5% at EU airports and by more than +38% at non-EU ones. For now, EU airports are stuck in recession for both passenger and freight traffic. The Eurozone economies may show signs of stabilising, but the ‘positive contagion’ referred to by the European Central Bank remains elusive when it comes to air traffic. This reflects weak business confidence and record unemployment levels in many countries, but also the woes of several European airlines which are downsizing and cutting capacity.”

He added “While there are a few green shoots with air traffic now picking up in Ireland and Portugal, the outlook for 2013 remains grim for EU airports – and still very dynamic for most other ones. Based on the prevailing trading conditions, our best estimate is for nearly flat growth (+0.5%) in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports for the year ahead. Many airports are now facing a new reality of slower and more contrasted traffic growth. Given our industry’s traditional reliance on dynamic traffic growth to sustain its capital intensive-nature and high proportion of fixed costs, this is a significant business challenge. In all probability, things are going to get worse before they get better.”

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 2012 increase of +2.5%, +1.4%, +1.7% and +0.4% respectively when compared with the Full Year figures for 2011. The same comparison of Full Year 2012 with Full Year 2010 demonstrates an average increase of +11.0%, +8.2%, +8.3% and +8.4% respectively.

Examples of airports that experienced the highest increases in passenger traffic per group, when comparing Full Year 2012 with Full Year 2011:

GROUP 1 Airports – Istanbul IST (+20.3%), Moscow SVO (+16.1%), Moscow DME (+9.6%), Amsterdam (+2.6%) & Barcelona (+2.2%)

GROUP 2 Airports – Istanbul SAW (+8.4%), Berlin TXL (+8.1%), Nice (+7.4%), Geneva (+5.9%) & Vienna (+5.0%)

GROUP 3 Airports – Bucharest OTP (+41.0%), Charleroi (+10.6%), Izmir (+9.6%), Ankara (+8.6%) & Toulouse-Blagnac (+8.2%)

GROUP 4 Airports – Arad (+1,236.6%), Vatry (+71.7%), Vilnius (+28.9%), Paphos (+25.0%) & Kiruna (+20.5%)

The month of December produced the most alarming result of the year. October & November both saw EU airports traffic in recession, but December saw the low EU traffic result -3.1%, dragging the overall passenger traffic result for all of Europe to -1.1%.

Examples of airports that experienced the increases in passenger traffic per group, when comparing December 2012 with December 2011:

GROUP 1 Airports – Istanbul IST (+19.8%), Moscow DME (+12.9%), Moscow SVO (+9.3%), Antalya (+6.1%) & London LHR (+2.0%)

GROUP 2 Airports – Istanbul SAW (+10.3%), Nice (+5.5%), Dublin (+5.4%), Manchester (+5.0%) & London STN (+4.1%)

GROUP 3 Airports – Bucharest OTP (+44.8%), St Petersburg (+9.7%), Charleroi (+8.3%), Izmir (+7.3%) & Venice (+7.1%)

GROUP 4 Airports – Arad (+3,191.8%), Chita (+42.9%), Vilnius (+32.8%), Chelyabinsk (+30.7%) & Cluj (+30.1%)

The ‘ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report – December 2012, Q4 and Full Year 2012’ includes 172 airports in total representing approximately 88% of European air passenger traffic.


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