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ACI EUROPE: Regional airports have seen sustained growth of international traffic over past decade

18-Apr-2013 12:21 PM

ACI EUROPE, in its sixth annual ACI EUROPE Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition, noted (16-Apr-2013) that over the last 15 years, regional airports have been the most dynamic segment of the European airport industry in terms of passenger growth. ACI EUROPE noted: "In particular the sustained growth of international traffic (+79% over 10 years for airports with less than 5 million passengers and +135% for airports with less than 1 million passengers) means that these airports went from being predominantly spokes feeding hub airports to building a diverse network of air routes providing direct connections to, from and between Europe’s regions". ACI EUROPE director general Olivier Jankovec said: “Regional airports have been the primary enabler of European connectivity, with more than 70 of them now hosting single or even multi-airline bases. With most of Europe mired in recession, their role as essential public transport infrastructure driving local economic capabilities is coming to the fore. More than ever, communities across Europe are relying on their airports to support inward investments, exports, tourism and wider economic regeneration, The fact that on-site jobs keep growing at many regional airports just shows how important they are in supporting the EU’s Growth and Jobs agenda”. ACI EUROPE however noted that "regional airports are more fragile than bigger airports". It said: "The recovery in air traffic since 2009 has been less dynamic for them, as airlines have tended to refocus on primary and larger markets. This is especially the case for smaller regional airports (less than 5 million passengers), which have seen passenger traffic falling by -5.4% since the beginning of the year, compared to an industry average of -0.9%. With airports being mainly fixed cost and capital-intensive businesses, economic sustainability is largely dependent on achieving a viable critical mass of air traffic – in other words, size matters. This is reflected in the fact that 51% of airports with less 5 million passengers and 65% of those with less than 1 million passengers are loss-making. [more - original PR]