Growth in air passengers slows across EU
by Daniel Mason
Airports in Denmark, Austria and Italy saw large increases in passenger numbers in 2010 while London's Heathrow maintained its position as the European Union's busiest terminal despite its own traffic declining, data published by Eurostat today showed. Across the continent, the overall growth in passenger numbers slowed.
According to the statistics, the number of people travelling through Copenhagen's Kastrup airport was up 9.1 per cent compared with 2009, taking the total passenger count to more than 21 million. There was an increase of 8.7 per cent at Vienna Schwechat, 7.9 per cent at Milan Malpensa and 7.6 per cent at Rome Fiumicino.
However, passenger numbers fell at nine of the 30 busiest airports in the EU in 2010. Dublin saw a 10.1 per cent decline, London Stansted lost 7 per cent of its passengers and Manchester and Athens both saw decreases of 5.2 per cent. Almost 66 million passengers passed through Heathrow in 2010, though that represented a drop of 0.2 per cent compared with the previous year. Paris Charles De Gaulle was the EU's second busiest airport with 58 million passengers. Paris, along with the next busiest terminals – Frankfurt Main, Madrid Barajas and Amsterdam Schiphol – all registered growth in passenger numbers, in contrast to Heathrow.
In total, nearly 777 million passengers were recorded in the EU in 2010. Of those, 323 million took flights within the EU, 291 million travelled to or from destinations outside the bloc, and 163 million were on internal national flights. Eurostat said a year-on-year decrease in passenger numbers of 1.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2010 was the result of the ash cloud that grounded flights across the continent following the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. However, since then – while passenger numbers have grown – the pace of increase has slowed, from 5.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 3.5 per cent in the first three months of 2011.
In 2010 airports in the United Kingdom processed 192 million passengers, the highest number in the EU, followed by 166 million in Germany, 153 million in Spain and 123 million in France. The UK saw its traffic decline by 2.8 per cent, while in Ireland passenger numbers collapsed by 12.1 per cent. But in a series of smaller EU countries, passenger number climbed sharply, including by 14.6 per cent in Latvia, 16.6 per cent in Denmark and 22.3 per cent in Lithuania. Six member states saw passenger numbers decline while 21 saw increases.
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