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Economic gloom drives fall in traffic

Publication date: 29 February 2012
Author: EUROCONTROL

The number of flights in Europe is set to fall by 1.3% this year compared to 2011, reflecting the continent’s economic problems and the recent surge in fuel prices, according to the latest edition of EUROCONTROL’s Medium Term Forecast of European Flights (2012-2018).

The drop is a second dip in the annual number of flights since the economic crisis of 2009. Flights in European airspace are foreseen to fall by 1.3% or from 9.8 million in 2011 to 9.7 million in 2012. The previous forecast predicted a growth of 2.5% over the same time period.

“The weakness of the European economy and the fuel price have already had a major impact on the airlines which have cut back on the number of flights harder and faster than we expected. The consequence has been a very significant revision of our forecast,” said David Marsh, Head of Forecast and Traffic Analysis at EUROCONTROL.

“From 2013 onwards, growth is predicted to return slowly but it could take until 2014 before the all-time peak level of 2008 of 10 million flights a year, is reached again. By comparison, it took only four years for flight numbers in the region to recover to previous highs after the 1980 oil price spike and the dotcom crisis of 2000 which also sent European economies into a spin,” added David Marsh.

“The traffic downturn will decrease the pressure on the delay target and put more emphasis on flight efficiency. The performance targets will be less demanding but we will have to take great care to avoid that airlines are in addition hit by delay costs at peak hours,“ said Jacques Dopagne, Director of Network Management at EUROCONTROL.

The full Report is available here

Statfor website