The recession at regional airports is “getting nasty” and European gateways could be heading for another “2009-style dip”, according to ACI Europe director general, Olivier Jankovec.
Overall passenger traffic at Europe’s airports saw a decrease of 1.6% in January, while EU airports saw a harsher decrease, averaging 3.8%.
Passenger traffic at non-EU airports reported an average 6.8% growth.
Aircraft movements reported a decrease of 4.8%, of which 1% can be attributed to the impact of the severe winter weather which affected parts of Europe towards the end of the month.
Jankovec said: “January was a difficult start to the year for many airports in Europe, especially in the EU market where nearly 80% of airports saw their passenger traffic declining.
“Even most of the usually resilient EU hubs lost traffic, while the recession at regional airports is getting nasty. On the face of it, this is looking like at another 2009-style dip.”
He added: “Apart from the continued dynamism of non-EU markets mainly led by Turkey and Russia, the relative improvement in freight traffic is a welcome signal.
“It is consistent with suggestions that GDP in the EU is now bottoming out, with external demand expected to lead a pick-up in economic activity in the months ahead.
“If domestic demand follows, we could then see passenger traffic improving towards the end of the year.”