The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has responded to the news that EU airport passenger traffic has fallen into recession.
ACI-Europe, which represents over 400 airports in 46 European countries and is the European region of Airports Council International, has announced that during the month of October, passenger traffic growth at EU airports fell by 1.3%. The news was compounded by the fact that during the same month, overall freight traffic among European airports also declined by 2.2%, whilst aircraft movements (an indicator of airline capacity) declined by 1.5%.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the AOA, said: “For the first time in three years, more than half of Europe’s airports are experiencing a decline in passenger traffic. These figures just go to show how fragile the aviation industry is across many parts of the continent, and how national governments should be doing everything in their power to promote growth in the sector. Within the UK, the best way they can do this is to put an end to the eye-wateringly high levels of Air Passenger Duty (APD), which are acting as a deterrent to visitors and businesses wanting to come to the UK, and costing thousands of jobs.
“The aviation sector in Europe is facing unprecedented competition from emerging rivals in the Middle East and Asia. We need to respond to this challenge with unashamedly pro-aviation policies which will promote growth and jobs in the sector, and encourage people to travel to our shores. It is a shame that George Osborne’s Autumn Statement – whilst right to promote the importance of infrastructure to UK plc – failed to mention aviation at all, yet roads, the underground and other infrastructure sectors were covered comprehensively. We urge the Chancellor to be more positive about aviation in the months to come”.