ACI Europe has reported that in contrast with passenger traffic dynamics – freight traffic fell sharply in 2018 with growth of only 1.8 per cent – compared with 8.4 per cent in 2017.
The airport association said that the deceleration primarily affected European Union (EU) airports (+1.1 per cent) and less so non-EU ones (+5.6 per cent). It turned into traffic losses in November (-1.4 per cent) and December (-2.2 per cent).
Among the top 10 European airports for freight, only the following reported growth: Liège (+21.6 per cent – 8th position), Istanbul-Atatürk (+9.6 per cent – 5th position), Cologne-Bonn (+2.7 per cent – 9th position) and Brussels (+3.7 per cent – 10th position).
ACI Europe director general, Olivier Jankovec (pictured above) said: “The trend of decreasing freight traffic is hard to ignore. It reflects weakening economic data and contraction forces at play, not just in Europe but around the World.
“These will ultimately translate into lower passenger demand. Adding to that, volatile oil prices, labour cost pressures and more consolidation should also lead airlines to be more cautious with capacity expansion. So pressures on passenger traffic are likely to come both from the demand and supply sides in 2019.”
He added: “With less than 60 days left before the UK exits the EU, BREXIT remains the top immediate risk. However, the latest no-deal contingency measures from the EU no longer provide for a capacity freeze on EU27-UK air routes for UK airlines. This will very much help mitigate the impact and protect air connectivity.”