European Airports ‘Off to a Good Start’ in 2016, but Norway Aviation Tax a Concern

Airports Council International—Europe (ACI-EUROPE) reports that European airports, on average, started the year strongly, with January 6.3% ahead of 2015. But, the association warns, the proposed aviation tax in Norway could hurt the economy.

The average increase in passenger traffic was 6.9%

16 airports in EU Member states had double digit growth. “This was the strongest monthly rate in almost two years,” the airports association states.

Non-EU airports reported slower growth of 4.3%

The report includes all types of civil aviation passenger flights to and from Europe: full service, low cost, charter and others.

Airport Traffic Report - January 2016
Map of Passenger Development at European Airports, Source: ACI-Europe 


“We are off to a very good start of the year in terms of passenger traffic, with airports in Southern and Eastern EU States generally being major contributors to what is quite a remarkable performance,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE.

ACI Europe Air Traffic Report, January 2016 Source: ACI-Europe

Best performers among the top 25 European airports:

Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (+19.3%)
Dublin (+17.1%)
Barcelona (+14.3%)
Copenhagen (+12.9%)
London Stansted (+11.8%)
Madrid-Adolfo Suarez (+11.7%)
Amsterdam Schiphol (+10.4%)

“French airports are still feeling the fallout of the recent terrorist attacks and extremely weak economic confidence—while the Non-EU market was mainly dragged down by weak traffic levels at Russian and Norwegian airports,” Jankovec added.

Airport performance in January, by size:

  • More than 25 million passengers per year (Group 1) +5.4%
  • Between 10 and 25 million passengers (Group 2) +6.4%
  • Between 5 and 10 million passengers (Group 3) +9.0%
  • Less than 5 million passengers per year (Group 4) +6.6%.
Percentage of Airports with Increasing Traffic, 2013-Jan 2016. Source: ACI-Europe

EU Airports reporting highest increases in passenger traffic for January 2016 v Jan 2015


Istanbul SAW (+19.3%)
Dublin (+17.1%)
Barcelona El-Prat (+14.3%)
Copenhagen (+12.9%)
Madrid-Barajas (+11.7%)


Cologne-Bonn (+30.4%)
Alicante (+18.8%)
Malaga (+13.5%)
Budapest (+12.1%)
Prague (+12.0%)


Berlin SXF (+44.0%)
Ibiza (+19.1%)
Bucharest OTP (+14.7%)
Faro and Fuerteventura (+14.3%)
Porto (+14.0%)


Santorini/Thira (+141.0%)
Bucharest BBU (+129.0%)
Ohrid (+98.6%)
Liege (+78.9%)
Ponta Delgada (+50.4%)

Executive Summary of Airport Performance. Source: ACI-Europe

On the matter of a re-introduction of an aviation tax in Norway, Jankovec said:

“An aviation tax is probably the last thing Norwegian aviation needs—let alone the country’s wider economy. Air connectivity is directly related to GDP and there is ample evidence to show that such taxes have a net negative impact on growth. Yet, it is worrying that the Norwegian authorities do not seem inclined to take these knock-on consequences into account. Air connectivity should not be considered as a given. It needs to be nurtured and supported—not taxed.”


Featured Image: Oslo Airport Terminal, Øyvind Markussen CC Source: Oslo Lufthavn

Marisa Garcia

After working for sixteen years in aviation, specializing in aircraft interiors design and aviation safety equipment, and getting hands-on with aircraft cabins in hangars around the world, Marisa Garcia turned her expertise into industry insight. She has been reporting on aviation matters since 2014. Every day, she's putting words to work.

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