Only two of Europe’s top 6 hubs still growing; Paris CDG overtakes Rome FCO in October

Image: Ribbon Cutting
Rome Fiumicino has overtaken Madrid as the fastest growing of Europe’s six major hubs, according to analysis of the first 10 months of 2008. Pictured are Carlo Parmeggiano, Head of ADR External Relations, and George Michaloupolus, Commercial Director, Blu-express, celebrating the launch of Rome Fiumicino-Palermo services.

Analysis of Europe’s six major hubs for the first 10 months of 2008 shows that Alitalia’s Rome Fiumicino base has taken over from Madrid as Europe’s fastest growing. Madrid’s spectacular growth in 2007 has been followed by modest growth in early 2008 as a result of an economic downturn in Spain and the launch of more high-speed rail services eating into traffic on its busiest route to Barcelona. In September and October its traffic was down over 10% on a year-over-year basis.

Chart: Passenger growth
Source: Airport websites

Rome’s growth in recent months has been driven by Alitalia’s decision to ditch its Milan Malpensa hub and focus solely on Rome. In addition some LCCs have moved their operations from Rome Ciampino to the bigger airport. However, in October traffic at Fiumicino was up less than 1% as Alitalia suffered several industrial disputes impacting on operations and consumer confidence.

Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London Heathrow have all seen traffic drop between 2% and 4% in recent months, although Paris CDG saw traffic grow almost 4% in October after a disappointing September.

Chart: Minor hubs passenger growth
Source: Airport websites

Since June none of Europe’s secondary hubs reported traffic growth of more than eight percent. In September and October only Zurich achieved growth of more than 2%. In October eight out of the 11 secondary hubs examined saw passenger numbers fall with only Zurich (+3.2%), Helsinki (+1.7%) and Athens (+0.5%) bucking the trend.


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