Europe's airport traffic returns to being a two-tier market, report finds

Dublin saw the third-highest growth rate in its group

Europe's airport traffic returns to being a two-tier market, report finds

A British Airways aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport | Image: RollingNews.ie

The latest traffic report for European airports has found significant differences in regions.

The European airport trade association, ACI Europe, has released its traffic report for July.

It found passenger traffic across the European airport network in July reported an average increase of 3.9%.

But it found that this growth is "entirely attributable" to the EU market - with the bloc reporting strong passenger traffic growth of 6.8%.

Dublin Airport saw the third-highest growth rate in Europe - behind Barcelona and Copenhagen - but ahead of Amsterdam and London Gatwick.

However this sees it slip in the rankings, when compared to may and June.

While there is significant variations in passenger growth rates, markets in the south of the EU serving leisure destinations generally fared well.

There was double digit passenger growth achieved by Bulgaria (+21.5%), Croatia (+18.3%), Cyprus (+16.7%), Portugal (+13.5%), Romania (+15.8%) and Spain (+11.4%), along with Poland (+10.8%) and Lithuania (+12.7%).

Source: ACI Europe

Meanwhile the non-EU market saw passenger traffic drop by 5.5%, with July marking the third consecutive month of decline.

ACI says this was essentially due to the two largest non-EU markets: Turkey and Russia.

Passenger traffic at Turkish airports declined sharply (-15.3%) in the wake of the Istanbul-Ataturk airport terrorist attack last June and the failed coup.

While Russia also continued to register declining volumes (-5%).

Freight traffic across the European airport network grew by 2.3% - and again, EU airports accounted for all that growth, while non-EU airports registered a significant decline.

Olivier Jankovec, director-general at ACI Europe said: "Here we are again in a two-speed market - but the other way around this time.

"While air traffic growth after the global financial crisis was down to non-EU airports, the EU market is now the one in growth mode.

"July also confirms the fact that traffic growth this year tends to be focused on secondary hubs and mid-sized airports, rather than large hubs and smaller regional airports.

"More generally, the impact of the terrorist attacks and political instability affecting parts of Europe this year has largely remained local - leading to shifts in demand benefiting other European markets."