Latest European data reveals scale of air travel downturn in biggest EU markets

Analysis of passenger traffic data across nine of the largest European countries shows that Italy and Spain appear to be suffering most during the current economic downturn as far as air travel demand is concerned.

Chart: EU Air Growth
Source: UK CAA, BAA, destatis, DGAC, ADP, Assaeroporti, LFV, Avinor, Finavia, AENA

In six of the eight countries analysed domestic traffic was down by more than 10% in November. However, the good news is that for five countries the latest data shows that December was not as bad as November suggesting that the market may have bottomed out. This has been helped by the recent fall in oil prices.

International traffic demand more robust

International traffic has been performing better than domestic traffic in most European countries resulting in total airport traffic numbers looking slightly healthier. However, even here the overall result was that only France and Finland reported total airport growth in October while none of the nine countries analysed reported positive growth in November.

Chart: Total Airport Passengers
Source: UK CAA, BAA, destatis, DGAC, ADP, Assaeroporti, LFV, Avinor, Finavia, AENA, ANA

Spain’s airports saw annual traffic fall 3.1% from 210.4 million in 2007 to 203.8 million in 2008. Europe’s biggest air travel market, the UK, will also see traffic fall for the year from 244.3 million in 2007 to around 239 million in 2008.


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