Europe struggles with short-term troubles
Full-year figures for 2011 paint a deceptively positive picture for European airports. Many key hubs showed positive growth rates, reflecting a prediction from Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, that full-year growth would reach an average of 6 per cent.
Europes largest hubs performed relatively well in terms of passenger volume, with significant increases at Amsterdam (10 per cent); Copenhagen (5.7 per cent); Frankfurt (6.5 per cent); London Heathrow (5.5 per cent); and Paris Charles de Gaulle (4.7 per cent).
However, we must keep in mind that those numbers are artificially good as it reflects also the complete shutdown of air traffic in Europe in April 2010 following Icelands volcanic eruption, Jankovec told IHS Janes. We saw a marked slowdown by the end of the year reflecting the impact of the sovereign debt crises and slowing growth of the world economy. Prospects for 2012 are worrisome.
EU airports deal with about a third of global passenger volume yet they are facing ever increasing competition from hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Latin America. European hubs are geographically well located but the world is changing, said European Commission (EC) Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas. We have three airports in the worlds top 10 airports, but only one in the top 25 of the fastest growing airports. We need to foster airports competitiveness so as to raise their profile as providers of air services and job engines.
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