Air passenger traffic in Europe grew by almost 5% in the first two months of this year.

European airport association ACI Europe reported a 5% increase in passenger traffic year on year in February following a 4.2% rise in January.

However, freight traffic declined for the fourth consecutive month, down by more than 3% year on year in February.

ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: “Passenger traffic growth remains dynamic, defying weakening economic trends as well as significant geopolitical risks, even though growth has moderated compared to last year.”

However, noting the performance gap with freight, he warned: “This is not going to last forever. Passenger traffic growth is set to decelerate in the coming months.”

The EU led passenger growth with an average increase in passengers of 5.5% across all EU airports.

Passenger growth in the UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Finland lagged the EU average and Sweden recorded a fall in traffic year on year of 3.4%.

ACI Europe suggested the fall in Sweden “followed the introduction of an aviation tax last year and reflects changing attitudes towards air transport in the country”.

Belin’s Tegel airport, now a base for easyJet following the collapse of Air Berlin in late 2017, saw the highest growth in the month at almost 33%.

Vienna, where Ryanair-owned Laudamotion – formerly part of Air Berlin – has expanded rapidly, saw close to 26% growth.

Passenger traffic at non-EU Airports saw numbers increase 3%, but traffic volumes fell 2% in Turkey and 6.5% in Iceland, reflecting cutbacks by Wow Air before its collapse in March.

Traffic at Europe’s five biggest airports rose by under 3%, with traffic at Paris Charles de Gaulle up 7% year on year in February, Frankfurt up 4.3%, Schiphol up 2% and Heathrow up 1.6%.

The number of aircraft movements across Europe rose 3.5%, increasing by 3.9% in the EU and by 2.1% in the rest of Europe.

tw3