Europe’s southeast corner sees sharp increase in airport traffic

Europe’s southeast corner sees sharp increase in airport traffic
By bne IntelliNews June 13, 2018

Airports in the non-EU countries in the southeast corner of Europe recorded the fastest increase in passenger traffic in April, with the largest increase — of 30.5% — reported in Georgia, European airport trade association ACI Europe said in a new report. 

This continues a trend seen in the last few months, with the return of tourists en masse to Turkey pushing up traffic at the country’s airports by 13.9% in the month. But there was also strong growth in smaller countries in the region, with passenger traffic to Ukraine up 20.4%, Macedonia up 17.3%, Montenegro up 15.5% and and Albania up 11.5%. 

This contributed to an overall increase in passenger traffic at non-EU European airports of 10.4% in April, far outstripping the 3.4% in EU airports.

Indeed, EU airport saw a deceleration in growth compared to the 6.2% expansion in Q1, which ACI attributed to “the combination of labour disruptions, the continued impact of the bankruptcies of Monarch and Air Berlin, stronger tourism demand to Turkey and Northern Africa impacting some EU leisure airports — as well as the Easter holiday period starting earlier (in March) when compared to last year.”

Among airports serving EU capital cities, the strongest growth was concentrated in Central and Eastern Europe. The airports in Tallinn, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and Budapest all experienced double digit y/y growth in passenger numbers. 

Continuing the theme of stronger growth at less obvious tourist destinations, ACI says the most dynamic growth in passenger numbers was at smaller & regional airports. Leading the pack was the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas (up 135.9% y/y), followed by the Greek island of Kefallinia (+78.6%) and Georgia’s Batumi (up 63.3%).