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Airport Council International (ACI) Europe’s Q2 & H1 Air Traffic Report has found that Europe’s airports have experienced steady passenger growth of 6.7% during the first half of 2018.

Commenting on the continued growth across the sector, Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s director general said: “Our expectations for the first half of the year were cautiously positive, not least because of the extraordinary rise in passenger traffic Europe has enjoyed last year. But the results we are issuing today reveal just how robust air traffic growth has remained so far.

In the EU, airports in the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia achieved double digit growth. Meanwhile, airports in Sweden posted the lowest growth within Europe (+1.5%). The report reveals this was due to the combination of the new national aviation tax introduced last April, the bankruptcy of regional airline Nextjet and lower outbound demand in the wake of local currency hitting its lowest value in years.

Secondary and smaller hubs as well as some medium sized and larger regional airports also reported strong growth – reflecting ever evolving competitive dynamics largely driven by low-fare carriers and non-EU full service airlines. The top five airports catering for less than five million airports during the first half of the year were: Foggia (+48.5%), Batumi (+45.5%), Poznan (+39.7%), Varna (+37.1%) and Lublin ( 32.2%).

Jankovec did warn however that the rise in passenger traffic is clearly putting Europe’s aviation system under pressure – “with the impact of both a lack of airport capacity and Air Traffic Management inefficiencies becoming more and more acute and now directly affecting air travellers.”

He also stressed that “diminishing growth in freight traffic points to the economic risks from trade disputes and their escalation. Higher prices, disrupted supply chains and wavering exports are likely implications – which would inevitably end up affecting demand for air transport. The increasing odds of a “no-deal” Brexit scenario are just adding to the stress – and could soon start weakening consumer confidence.”

 

Header image: Batumi Airport, Georgia;  Inset: Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s managing director.

 

 


Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Airports throughout Europe are bracing themselves for major disruptions this weekend following the news that Ryanair is cancelling a further 250 flights on Friday, as it is revealed that German pilots have confirmed a 24-hour walkout following a dispute over pay and conditions.

The budget airline had already cancelled around 150 flights on Friday ahead of pilots’ strikes in Ireland, Belgium and Sweden. Meanwhile Dutch pilots in the Netherlands are still considering calling for strikes.

Some 25,000 passengers are expected to be affected by the cancellations, as are various airports including East Midlands, Manchester, Dublin, Stockholm Skavsta, Stansted, Berlin Schonefeld and Frankfurt .

During a press conference on Wednesday 8 August, Martin Locher, president of Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) – the professional association of cockpit personnel in German – said: “We demand improvements in pay and working conditions.” He also asserted that “improvements are inconceivable without an increase in personnel cockpit costs. During negotiations Ryanair categorically ruled out any such increases. At the same time, Ryanair has not shown any interest to find solutions. It is only Ryanair, which is responsible for the escalation which has now taken place.”

In response to the call for industrial action, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs said: “We regret the decision of the VC to go ahead with this unnecessary strike action…. Our pilots in Germany enjoy excellent working conditions. They are paid up to €190,000 per year and, as well as additional benefits, they received a 20% pay increase at the start of this year.”

He added that “we asked VC to provide us with at least seven days’ notice of any planned strike action so that we could notify our customers of cancelled flights in advance and offer them alternative flights or refunds, but they have refused to do this and instead call an unnecessary strike in Germany in just two days’ time.”

The pilots’ strikes follow a summer of strife for the low-fare carrier which has also been affected by Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes in France and elsewhere in Europe.

 

 


Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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As of November 2018, Mexican ultra low-fare airline, Volaris, will offer a twice-weekly nonstop service between Sacramento in California and Leon in Mexico.

Leon is the largest city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato and part of the economic powerhouse microregion of Bajio within the Central Mexican Plateau. Known for its production of high-quality leather goods as well as premier hotels, restaurants and leisure activities, it’s a prime holiday destination for those seeking a winter getaway over the Christmas period.

“The recent announcement that Volaris Airlines will begin a direct service to Leon, Mexico is yet another example of our airport system’s commitment to convenience for the travelling public,” said Sacramento county supervisor, Phil Serna, whose district includes Sacramento International Airport.

He was joined by Mark Haneke, manage of air service development and marketing for the Sacramento County Department of Airports, who said: “We’re thrilled that Volaris is adding a service to Leon, a popular destination among the Hispanic community for visiting friends and relatives.”

The new link will operate from Sacramento to Leon after midnight on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while flights from Leon to Sacramento will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays. The new service will be added to the 39 destinations already served from Sacramento, which currently offers 155 daily nonstop flights on 11 domestic and international carriers.

The regional economic impact of Sacramento County’s airport system is more than $4 billion annually.

 

 


Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Latvian low-fare carrier, Primera Air, is to stop all of its European short-haul flights from Birmingham Airport in the UK.

Services between Birmingham and Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona will be cancelled from 3 September, while flights between the West Midlands hub and Malaga, Alicante, Las Palmas, Reykjavik and Tenerife will end on 29 October.

According to a spokesperson at Primera Air, the decision was taken to cease these short-haul operations as the routes in question haven’t performed “as well as expected.”

The news follows the announcement back in June that Primera Air was suspending its transatlantic service from Birmingham to New York and Toronto until next year. The airline said it had been forced to cancel these flights due to the late delivery of its new planes, although it hopes to reinstate transatlantic services in the new year once the aircraft are available.

Additionally, Primera Air has said it will reduce the frequency of its flights between Stansted and Malaga and will end its service from Stansted to Alicante on 1 October.

 


Written by: Chloe Greenbank

If you have any feedback about this article or would like to suggest a topic for future investigation, please contact us.