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Global shift in aviation calls for EU industrial policy

18-Jun-2010 9:24 AM

ACI Europe released (17-Jun-2010) its 2010 economic outlook and details of its 20-year vision for the airports of 2030.

Economic outlook:

  • Passenger traffic had started to steadily recover with 5.2% passenger and 22% freight growth in 1Q2010;
  • Airports heavily affected by volcanic ash crisis, with airspace closures in Apr-2010 and May-2010 cutting traffic by 17 million passengers and costing European airports nearly EUR300 million;
  • Sovereign debt crises and the weakness of GDP growth in Europe – with low consumer confidence – expected to affect demand for air travel through 2010, leading to a two-speed recovery, with passenger traffic lagging well behind freight traffic;
  • Passenger traffic expected to increase 3% year-on-year in 2010, leaving traffic below 2007 levels;
  • Freight traffic to increase 26% year-on-year, returning above 2008 levels;
  • Significant disparities forecast between geographical markets, with some airports making a full recovery, others partially or even still losing passenger traffic;
  • "Abusive" cabin baggage limitations by a few low cost airlines are preventing passengers from taking airport purchases on board, unless they can fit them into their cabin bag. ACI Europe stated these limitations have reduced retail revenues at some airports by up to 40%.

2030 outlook:

  • Shift to global multi-polar aviation market means that European aviation policy is "now in urgent need of a renewed direction, focused on competitiveness";
  • Four major challenges faced by European airports between now and 2030:

ACI Europe: “The volcanic ash crisis essentially broke our recovery, ripping out all the traffic gains accumulated since the beginning of the year in passenger traffic. May and June have been on the up again, and the summer looks promising – but the threat linked to this latest crisis lingers on. Although procedures to deal with volcanic ash have improved, partial closures of airspace cannot be ruled out should the volcano become active again," Olivier Jankovec, Director General. Source: ACI Europe, 17-Jun-2010.