ACI Europe reveals positive first month 2018 data for Europe’s airports; Istanbul, Ankara, Naples and Foggia lead the way in size categories

13 March, 2018

European airport trade association, ACI Europe has revealed average passenger traffic in geographical Europe grew by +7.4% during January, compared with the same period last year. The release of its traffic report for Jan-2018 delivers its first indication of air traffic performance in Europe for this year and reinforces many trends from the previous year. The 'ACI Europe Airport Traffic Report – January 2018’ includes data on 241 airports in total representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic.

As in previous months, the non-European Union (EU) markets led the growth dynamic at +14.6%, on the back of Turkish airports increasing their passenger traffic by an impressive +28.1%. While Russian airports grew at a slower pace (+7.7%), airports in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Israel, Iceland as well as in the smaller markets of Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, FYROM and Montenegro, all recorded double digit increases.

Passenger traffic growth in the EU market moderated to +5.2% when compared to 2017 (+7.7%). This mainly reflects the lasting impact of the bankruptcies of airberlin and Monarch Airlines, notes ACI Europe and which resulted in traffic decreases at airports in Germany, Austria, Denmark and the UK. It says the performance has also been impacted by the decision of Ryanair to take 25 aircraft out of its fleet this winter, to address crew rostering issues, while it adds that an especially strong Jan-2017 performance where traffic was up +10% as also contributed to the lower performance to start this year.

The Eastern part of the EU market continued to drive the growth dynamic, with airports in the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bulgaria posting double digit increases – along with airports in Portugal, Malta, Luxemburg and Finland.

The top 5 European airports, known by ACI Europe as the ‘majors’ saw passenger traffic growth of +9.3%. This performance was primarily influenced by a +30.3% increase at Istanbul-Atatürk, which propelled the airport to the second position amongst the league, behind London-Heathrow (+1.1%) and just above Paris-CDG (+4.9%). Amsterdam-Schiphol and Frankfurt also contributed to the performance of the top 5 - both increasing their passenger traffic by +7.6%.

If you put aside the persisting negative impact of last year’s airlines bankruptcies, 2018 is off “to a good start for air traffic at Europe’s airports,” says Olivier Jankovec, director general, ACI Europe. “The main driver for that is continued and robust economic expansion across our continent and beyond. While oil price volatility is more of concern in the medium-term, geopolitical tensions remain at the very top of our risk cards for the coming months,” he adds.

The ACI Europe report also notes that freight traffic continued its recent upward trend during January at +8.4% replicating its growth rate this time last year. Aircraft movements were up +4.3% - increasing by +3.3% in the EU market and by +7.8% in the non-EU bloc.

During the month of January, 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 +6.8%, +6.6%, +8.3% and +10.1%, respectively.

The airports which reported the highest increases in passenger traffic during Jan-2018 (compared with January 2017) were:

  • Group 1: Istanbul IST (+30.3%), Istanbul SAW (+25.3%), Lisbon (+15.2%), Antalya (+14.3%) and Moscow SVO (+12.6%)
  • Group 2: Ankara (+47.8%), Izmir (+20.8%), Budapest (+16.7%), Warsaw WAW (+16.4%) and Tel Aviv (+14.6%)
  • Group 3: Naples (+52%), Sevilla (+32.5%), Heraklion (+28.1%), Valencia (+27.9%) and Krakow (+20.1%)
  • Group 4: Foggia (+500%), Batumi (+110%), Varna (+107.7%), Craiova (+70.8%) and Kos (+61.1%)