Europe's air passenger traffic up 4.8 pct in July

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Air passenger traffic in Europe saw an annual rise of 4.8 percent in July, but some Turkish airports saw traffic spike as much as 18.3 percent, the European airport trade association said on Tuesday.

"While this remains a solid performance, the month marked a deceleration in growth at Europe’s airports when compared to H1 [first half of the year] (up 6.7 percent), which predominantly affected the non-EU market," Airports Council International (ACI) Europe said in a statement.

The association said passenger traffic rose 6.8 percent at non-EU airports in July, down from a 10.5 percent increase in the first half of this year.

"This reflected lower growth at Turkish, Russian, and Icelandic airports," it said. "Meanwhile, airports in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, FYROM [Macedonia], Georgia, and Ukraine kept recording double-digit growth."

ACI Europe said the growth deceleration was less marked at EU airports, where passenger volumes grew 4.3 percent in July compared to 5.4 percent in January-June.

Pointing to the top five European airports, the group stated that growth in passenger traffic slowed down in July, up 3.5 percent, compared to a 6.3 percent annual hike in the first six months of this year.

"This reflected traffic stalling at Amsterdam-Schiphol (up 0.5 percent) due to capacity limitations as well as lower growth at Istanbul-Ataturk (up 1.5 percent)," it said.

Frankfurt, with a 7.5-percent rise year-on-year, showed the top performance among the majors, followed by Paris-CDG and London-Heathrow with 4.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

ACI Europe also said that two Turkish airports were among those that saw the highest increases in July, in the group of airports welcoming more than 25 million passengers per year.

According to the group, passenger traffic at the airport in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the city's Anatolian side grew 18.3 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively.

ACI Europe noted that its passenger traffic report for July covers 243 airports, representing over 88 percent of European air passenger traffic.