Figures recently released by the DGAC in France confirm that domestic traffic in France is virtually unchanged in the first eight months of 2007 whereas international traffic is showing healthy growth of around 8%. This is being driven by growth in the liberalised EU market where growth in 2007 is averaging almost 10%.
Traffic growth to the Maghreb region (North Africa excluding Egypt) has also been particularly strong with Morocco leading the way with 13% growth in the first half of 2007. This is the consequence of Morocco signing an ‘open-skies’ agreement with the EU to encourage in-bound tourism.
LCCs driving international growth
During the first six months of 2007 passenger numbers on Air France and its partners grew by just 1.9%. easyJet consolidated its position as the second largest carrier in the French market generating 17.5% growth to 3.66 million passengers. In third place Ryanair carried 2.57 million passengers and narrowed the gap on easyJet thanks to growth of 30%. Other significant growth came from Royal Air Maroc (including Atlas Blue) with 19% growth, Swiss (+29%) and Vueling (+96%).
UK still #1 but Spain growing fast
In terms of passenger numbers the UK is still the busiest country though traffic in 2007 has been almost unchanged. However, many other EU countries have experienced double-digit growth lead by Spain (+16.7%), Belgium (+14.8%), Czech Republic (+14.5%), Ireland (+12.0%), Italy (+11.9%), Netherlands (+11.5%) and Portugal (10.8%). Non-EU destinations performing well are Morocco (+12.8%), Canada (+12.7%), Turkey (+12.4%) and Egypt (+9.2%).
Apart from the stagnating UK market traffic to Japan is down 0.1% and demand to/from the USA is down 0.4%.
Marseille’s MP2 helps boost international traffic
Among France’s top 10 airports Marseille Provence (MRS) has experienced the fastest growth in international traffic in 2007 thanks to the opening last year of its MP2 ‘low-cost’ terminal and Ryanair’s decision to base two aircraft there.
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