Barcelona El Prat now fastest growing of Europe’s major airports; Copenhagen and Rome also up more than 10%

September – a characteristically shy Ryanair chief executive opens the airline’s new base at Barcelona El Prat which has helped the Catalan capital to its superb 18% growth. At the other end of the growth scale, Dublin and Gatwick were finally able to generate a positive trend in demand of around 1% each in October.

Passenger traffic statistics for October show that 15 of Europe’s top 16 airports reported year-on-year traffic growth led by Barcelona (+18.1%), Copenhagen (+13.4%) and Rome Fiumicino (+11.6%). For the last few months, only Dublin, London Gatwick and London Stansted were not reporting growth, but in October both Dublin (+1.0%) and Gatwick (+0.8%) were finally able to generate a positive trend in demand.

Europe's Top 16 airports Year-on-year change in passengers in 2010

Source: Various

However, London Stansted, the biggest base for Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier (Ryanair), continues to lose passengers – although the decline is now less than 5%. Despite this, during 2010, the airport has seen new routes launched by easyJet to Cagliari, Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik and Split; by Ryanair to Ciudad Real, Fez, Figari, Fuerteventura and Trapani; by germanwings to Hannover; by Anadolujet to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, and by Sun Country to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Barcelona benefits from new Ryanair base

Ironically, Barcelona’s surge to the top of the rankings is also down to Ryanair, which opened a base at the airport on 1 September. It immediately started serving 20 destinations (including 12 with at least daily frequency) with another four routes starting this winter.

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