Travel Trends

European Airports Report Strong Passenger Traffic in May

Passenger traffic in the EU grew by a healthy +5.8%. Meanwhile, Non-EU airports posted a lower but improved rate of passenger traffic growth compared to previous months (+5.0%).

Airports Council International European airport trade body, ACI EUROPE yesterday released its traffic report for May. The report is the only air transport report which includes all types of civil aviation passenger flights: full service, low cost and charter. It reveals that passenger traffic at Europe’s airports grew by an average +5.6% during the month. 

Reviewing the result in more detail, passenger traffic in the EU grew by a healthy +5.8%. Meanwhile, Non-EU airports posted a lower but improved rate of passenger traffic growth compared to previous months (+5.0%). 

In stark contrast to the passenger figures, freight traffic across the European airport network was down -0.4% - reflecting the relative weakness of economic growth in the EU, the continued impact of sanctions on Russia as well more structural factors. Aircraft movements were up +1.4%. 

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE commented “EU passenger traffic continues to perform strongly, led by airports in Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Hungary – as well as smaller markets including Slovenia, Croatia, Malta and Luxembourg. Greece in particular has been a top performer for more than 12 months, with passenger traffic consistently achieving double digit growth. However, the current situation in the country is now causing a decrease in forward bookings – an indication that this dynamic trend is unlikely to persist, at least in the short-term. This may lead to part of the leisure demand moving to other markets.” 

He added “Non-EU passenger traffic is posting its best growth rate this year so far, despite figures generally decreasing at Russian airports. The improvement is mainly driven by airports in Turkey, Iceland and Georgia, as well as the return of growth in Ukraine.” 

During the month of May, airports welcoming more than 25 million passengers per year (Group 1), airports welcoming between 10 and 25 million passengers (Group 2), airports welcoming between 5 and 10 million passengers (Group 3) and airports welcoming less than 5 million passengers per year (Group 4) reported an average adjustment +4.4%, +5.5%, +9.3% and +6.2%. 

The airports which reported the highest increases in passenger traffic are as follows: 

GROUP 1: Madrid (+12.8%), Istanbul IST (+11.7%), Amsterdam (+7.9%), Zurich (+6.2%) and Barcelona (+6.1%)

GROUP 2: Istanbul SAW (+23.1%), Athens (+22.3%), Izmir ADB (+13.8%), Ankara (+13.1%) and Dublin (+12.9%

GROUP 3: Milan BGY* (+192.2%), Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (+16.0%), Porto (+15.9%), Glasgow GLA (+13.3%), Charleroi & Stuttgart (+11.7%

GROUP 4: Astrakhan (+45.2%), Ponta Delgada (+43.6%), Keflavik (+31.6%), Sibiu (+31.5%) and Santorini (+30.2%)

The 'ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report – May 2015’ includes 203 airports in total representing more than 88% of European air passenger traffic.


*Please note that the exceptionally high figure for Milan BGY was due to comparison with a period of low traffic in

2014. The airport was closed from 13 May to 2 June 2014 due to runway maintenance works during which all flights were moved to Malpensa (which in turn registered a decrease in traffic this year due to this transfer). 

The ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report is a dedicated service for journalists available in the password protected ‘Airport Traffic Report’ section of the ‘Media room’ on our website Accredited members of the media may also access additional traffic analysis and comprehensive traffic databases. For your password to access these sections, please contact us by e-mail at: Your request will be validated and the password will be e-mailed to your work address.

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