With traffic data for all of 2009 now available for many of Europe’s airports, anna.aero this week takes a closer look at how different airports and countries compared during this challenging period for airports and airlines. Using a database of traffic trend data from some 300 European airports (including those in countries such as Morocco, Russia and Turkey) shows which countries have been most (and least) affected by recent economic realities.
* In some cases data for only the largest airports in a country has been used. Some airports have only reported traffic data to November in which case anna.aero has estimated the data for the whole year.
NB: Dark green bars highlights Europe’s five biggest air travel countries; France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Only four of 33 countries analysed reported air traffic growth. Morocco and Turkey are both developing markets which appear to have benefited from being slightly outside the European mainstream. Albania and Latvia are basically one-airport countries dominated by fast-growing Tirana and Riga.
Europe’s ‘big 5′ country markets averaged traffic declines of around 6% with Spain suffering the most. Seven countries saw air travel fall by 10% or more. Four of these were in Central Europe. Lithuania and Slovakia suffered as a result of the demise of their leading airlines (FlyLal and SkyEurope) while Estonia and Slovenia also had a difficult year. Iceland’s performance was no surprise its serious problems. Sweden had a tough year as SAS continued to downsize while Ireland appears to be the paying the price for introducing a tourism tax during the year, at a time when other countries were trying to find ways of encouraging rather than discouraging air travel.
Biggest winners and losers
The performance of individual airports across Europe varied from those where passenger numbers doubled (Trapani in Italy) and those where they halved (Durham Tees Valley in the UK). Below are listed the top 10 airports at both ends of the performance spectrum.
|Airport||2009 v 2008||Airport||2009 v 2008|
|Trapani (TPS)||+100.7%||Durham Tees Valley (MME)||-55.4%|
|Memmingen (FMM)||+75.7%||Kosice (KSC)||-40.4%|
|Weeze (NRN)||+63.3%*||Blackpool (BLK)||-36.9%|
|Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW)||+47.7%||Vilnius (VNO)||-36.0%|
|Zadar (ZAD)||+36.6%||Forli (FRL)||-32.8%|
|Tangier (TNG)||+35.9%||Dortmund (DTM)||-27.7%*|
|Reus (REU)||+33.4%||Norwich (NWI)||-26.3%|
|Brussels Charleroi (CRL)||+33.1%||Tallinn (TLL)||-25.7%|
|Lübeck (LBC)||+31.0%*||Glasgow Prestwick (PIK)||-24.7%|
|Fez (FEZ)||+28.8%||Valladolid (VLL)||-23.8%|
|Source: anna.aero European Airport Traffic Trends Database
Airports analysed must have handled at least 100,000 passengers in 2009.
* Figures for January to November
Over 60 airports reported growth for the whole of 2009 which shows that some airports have clearly found ways to attract airlines and stimulate traffic even during the current economic climate. They key growth driver at these airports has clearly been the continued growth of low-cost carriers.
However, it should also be noted that many of those airports that had a particularly bad year can also blame the withdrawal of low-cost services for their plummeting passenger numbers. The fact that four of the bottom 10 airports are in the UK, the ancestral home of low-cost carrier development in Europe, is probably significant.
For more detailed figures on the performance of Europe’s airports click here.