Declining Trend Through The Year
The total number of passengers transported by air in the EU27 rose by 0.6% in 2008, compared with 2007, to 798 million. This was the lowest annual growth rate in the EU since 2002.
Data lag does not give a clear indication of the sector today, but points to demand resilience in a very turbulent economy. As Europes' economies recovery, demand for air travel is expected rebound quickly.
Passenger numbers rose by 6.1% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same quarter of 2007, and by 3.0% in the second quarter, then they fell by 0.4% in the third quarter and by 5.6% in the fourth quarter.
In the EU27, the number of passengers on extra-EU flights rose by 4.2% in 2008, compared with 2007, to 282 million. The number of passengers decreased by 0.5% to 345 million on intra-EU flights, and by 2.9% to 171 million on national flights.
These figures are published in a report2 from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, on air transport in the EU27 in 2008. This report also looks in detail at national, intra-EU and extra-EU air transport passengers, as well as the most important airport pairs, nationally and internationally.
London/Heathrow, Paris/Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt/Main busiest passenger airports
In 2008, the highest numbers of passengers were registered in the United Kingdom (214 mn, -1.6% compared with 2007), Germany (166 mn, +1.2%), Spain (161 mn, -1.3%), France (123 mn, +2.2%) and Italy (105 mn, -1.0%). The number of air passengers rose in 21 Member States and fell in six. The highest increases in the number of air passengers were recorded in Latvia (+16.8%), Romania and Slovakia (both +16.3%) and Lithuania (+16.2%), and the largest decreases in Hungary (-1.8%), the United Kingdom (-1.6%) and Spain (-1.3%).
Among the top ten airports in terms of passengers carried in 2008, only three registered increases in the number of passengers: Paris/Charles de Gaulle (+1.6%), Roma/Fiumicino (+7.4%) and München (+1.7%). London/Heathrow was still the EU’s busiest passenger airport, with 67 million passengers handled in 2008, down by 1.4% compared with 2007. Paris/Charles de Gaulle (60 mn, +1.6%) and Frankfurt/Main (53 mn, -1.2%) were the second and third busiest airports, followed by Madrid/Barajas (50 mn, -1.6%) and Amsterdam/Schiphol (47 mn, -0.7%).
London/Heathrow (39 mn) handled the most extra-EU passengers, Amsterdam/Schiphol (27 mn) the most intra-EU passengers and Madrid/Barajas (21 mn) the most national passengers.
Madrid - Barcelona, Roma - Milano, Paris - Toulouse and Paris - Nice busiest national routes. In 2008, the top five extra-EU routes all involved London Heathrow. The corresponding extra-EU airports in these five airport pairs were New York/JFK (2.8 mn, -1.3% compared with 2007), Dubai International (1.7 mn, +5.1%), Hong Kong International (1.5 mn, +2.8%), Los Angeles International (1.5 mn, +3.9%) and Chicago/O'Hare (1.5 mn, -9.0%).
The busiest national routes in 2008 were Madrid/Barajas - Barcelona with 3.5 million passengers, although down by 24.4% compared with 2007, Roma/Fiumicino - Milano/Linate (2.5 mn, -1.1%), Paris/Orly - Toulouse Blagnac (2.3 mn, -0.1%) and Paris/Orly - Nice/Côte d'Azur (2.3 mn, -1.3%). The busiest intra-EU routes were London Heathrow - Dublin (1.8 mn, -8.2%) and London Heathrow - Amsterdam/Schiphol (1.7 mn, -5.0%).