Non-EU airports lead first-quarter European traffic growth

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Passenger traffic at Europes airports rose 4.6% in the first quarter, new data from ACI Europe shows.

For EU airports, traffic was up 3.3%, with all national markets growing except for Croatia, Latvia and Poland. Traffic at non-EU airports meanwhile increased 9.2%, with Iceland, Moldova and Serbia growing at rates in excess of 20%. Aircraft movements for Europe as a whole climbed 2.7%.

Oliver Jakover, director general of ACI Europe, says “consumer confidence has reached pre-crisis levels”, adding that “the rebound in both domestic passenger traffic (+5.8%) and freight traffic [5.2%], as well as the return of dynamic passenger growth in Greece, are all welcome signals that the European aviation market is finally becoming more balanced”.

In March, European traffic rose 2.5%. This weaker growth reflects not just Easter’s timing but “increasing geopolitical tensions in Russia and Ukraine, as well as softer demand in Turkey and from emerging countries outside Europe”, says Jankovec.

EU airports’ traffic grew 1.3% in March, with wide regional variations: for example, the Swedish figure was up 8.4%, but the Croatian one down 11%. Traffic at non-EU airports meanwhile jumped 6.7%, with Norway growing 8.1%, Russia 7.7% and Turkey 9.9%.