French airport traffic down less than 3% in Q3; LCCs generating regional growth

Bordeaux expects next year’s opening of its new low-cost billi terminal to stimulate traffic demand at the airport. Meanwhile, French airports such as Lyon, Marseille and Paris Beauvais have outperformed the national average in traffic growth after successfully attracting new LCC routes in the last two years.

Data from the leading French airports for the third quarter of 2009 reveals that passenger numbers are down less than 3% compared with the third quarter of 2008. Overall traffic trends are hugely influenced by what happens in Paris with the two ADP airports (Orly and Charles de Gaulle) accounting for over 60% of traffic among the top 15 airports. Passenger numbers at CDG have been down just over 4% in each of the last three months while demand for services at Orly have been down just 0.2% in July, 1.1% in August and 3.4% in September.

Chart: French airports traffic development - Year-on-year traffic growth 2009
Source: Airport websites and contacts

The sharp drop in year-on-year performance in June at Paris Beauvais can be explained by the fact that the airport was closed for eight days while work on the runway was carried out. Since then, the airport has once more reported solid year-on-year growth. Other airports reporting consistent growth during the third quarter are Bastia, Lille and Marseille. Strasbourg continues to see a reduction in passenger numbers after the introduction of the TGV Est services in June 2007.

French airport traffic numbers holding up well

An examination of the difference between passenger numbers in September 2009 and September 2007 reveals that several airports are showing genuine growth. Paris Beauvais leads the way with demand up 24.7%, followed by Bastia (+10.7%) and Lille (+6.5%). Among the largest French airports, Lyon (+0.7%), Marseille (-0.3%) and Toulouse (-0.9%) have shown little change compared with two years ago, while Nice (-6.8%), Paris CDG (-7.0%) and Paris Orly (-8.7%) are all down between 5% and 10%. Strasbourg traffic is down just over 25%, though if a comparison is made with September 2006 (before the TGV Est line opened), then the fall in traffic is even more dramatic at over 40%.


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