unveils European airport traffic database for 2009; Switzerland defies the odds

Image: Geneva Airport
Traffic at Geneva (pictured) held steady in January, while Zurich saw an increase of 2.3%.

Following the success of our free, downloadable spreadsheet which tracked monthly traffic changes at over 200 European airports in 2008, is please to introduce our latest tool which will track traffic changes at European airports in 2009.

Poor weather across many parts of Europe combined with the ongoing economic woes means that few airports have posted positive results in January. So far we have identified around 20 airports that have reported an increase in passenger numbers with Reus leading the way with growth of 144%. Other airports reporting double-digit growth were Weeze in Germany (+61.1%), Tangier in Morocco (+52.1%), Varna in Bulgaria (+31.1%), Brussels Charleroi in Belgium (+19.0%) and Ivalo in Finland (+12.3%).

19 airports report traffic drop of over 30%

So far almost 20 airports have reported a drop in passenger numbers of 30% or more in January. Blackpool (-63%) and Forli (-50%) are currently bottom of this table. Most of the airports in this category handled less than two million passengers in 2008 and so are more prone to significant changes in fortune. However, among larger airports both Milan Malpensa (Alitalia cutbacks) and Valencia (Ryanair cutbacks) reported traffic reductions of 32%.

Switzerland defies trend with growth

Analysis of all airports in various major European countries and traffic at the dominant airport(s) in other countries reveals that most countries saw demand drops of between 8% and 18%. Three of Europe’s ‘big5′ (France, Germany and UK) each saw traffic down around 8-9%, while Italy was down 15%. Spain suffered most with passenger numbers down 17% on a year ago.

Chart: European air passengers
Source: Assorted organisations and airport websites

Not only did Switzerland’s main airport at Zurich see an increase of 2.3% in January but traffic at Geneva held steady as well. However, traffic at half-Swiss/half-French Basel was down 11.9%.

For full details of the traffic data, download our free spreadsheet containing all the data we currently have for 2009. If you can provide us with more recent data for your airport please e-mail us at to help make our database even more accurate.

Download the 2009 European Traffic Trends Spreadsheet


  1. p martignoli says:

    You mention that Zurich’s traffic grew by 2.3% in January 2009. According to their press release the traffic dropped by 2.3%. replies: You are quite right! Unfortunately a minus sign was overlooked during data entry. However, Switzerland IS still leading the way compared with other countries, at least in January. Geneva’s performance can probably be attributed to good ski-ing conditions this winter. Since we published the graph we have also learnt that Portugal’s traffic was down just 3.5% in January, making it the second “best” country after Switzerland. And this without the benefit of a ski market!

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