Whatever you read elsewhere, the EU air travel market is the worst it’s been in six years. The European airport association ACI Europe has blamed a spate of airline failures in September for “softening” growth in air traffic.
According to reports, growth across EU airports was cut in half compared to the first six months of 2019. Part of the problem can be attributed to failures like that of Thomas Cook, but ACI has declared this decline the “weakest EU market in six years,” for a spate of reasons. Director general Olivier Jankovec offered this via a Moodie Davitt report:
“Passenger traffic growth keeps softening and there is no recovery in sight for depressed freight traffic. While these figures account for worsening macro-economic and trading conditions, they also reflect the fact that four European airlines went bust in September.”
The Thomas Cook failure, the death of Slovenian carrier Adria Airways, French airline Aigle Azur, and XL Airways France grounded reveal the market’s weaknesses. According to the reports, the airports most affected were Ljubljana, where traffic declined 10%, and Paris-Orly and Fuerteventura where passenger numbers fell 9%.
Traffic also fell 8% at Glasgow, 6% at Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), 4% at Corfu and Newcastle, and about 3% at Tenerife South, Kos, and Heraklion. As for the UK, air traffic overall was almost 1% down year on year. Jankovec went on to laid down the trend for EU airports in the wake of Boeing’s 737 Max catastrophe.
The numbers don’t lie, and Slovenia (-9.6%), Bulgaria (-7.9%), Sweden (-2.1%), Slovakia (-1.1%), the UK (-0.7%) and Germany (-0.4%) all posted passenger traffic losses. Meanwhile, Greece (+0.3%), Denmark (+0.5%) and Cyprus (+0.6%) recorded minimal growth.