After the effects of the economic crisis which lasted until 2012 (aggravated by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in 2010), European air traffic has resumed a steady development trend. 2015 recorded an increase of 4.7% over the previous year, exceeding 918 million passengers, according to Eurostat statistics.
The analysis of Eurocontrol / STATFOR reveals how low-cost airlines have continued to show a robust growth rate in Europe even during the difficult years of the economic crisis. In terms of the number of flights inside the European airspace, those of traditional airlines have dropped below the 50% threshold for the first time in countries such as France, the UK, mainland Spain and Italy: all countries where low-cost airlines have recorded important development.
In 2015 (the latest full year for which statistics are available), London Heathrow was once again the biggest EU airport in terms of passengers carried and daily movements (landings and take-offs). When it comes to freight and mail transport Paris Charles de Gaulle comes out top (in tonnes handled), followed closely by Frankfurt.
If we consider only low-cost flights, Barcelona jumps ahead as the European airport with the largest number of movements, followed by the two London airports of Gatwick and Stansted (main bases of easyJet and Ryanair respectively). For business flights, i.e. made with aircraft hired by private customers, Paris Le Bourget is by far the most important airport in Europe. While Antalya (Turkey) was the most frequented airport by charter flights.
The airport with the largest number of movements of all-cargo flights is Leipzig-Halle, followed closely by Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Among the passenger transport routes, those traveling internationally within Europe are the most frequent followed by extra-European (outside Europe) and domestic journeys. Among the non-European destinations, those in the Middle East recorded the largest increase, confirming the increasingly important role played by certain hubs in the Gulf.