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NEWS Last modified on June 14, 2013

Airport capacity crunch could cost Europe €230 billion

An airport capacity crunch in Europe will cost the European economy €230 billion, it has been claimed.

Declan Collier, president of ACI Europe and CEO of London City Airport, said that despite recessionary pressures and the weak economic prospects affecting most of Europe, there was little appetite to capitalise on the strategic role aviation can play for growth and jobs.

Speaking at the ACI Europe and ACI World Annual Congress and Exhibition in Istanbul this week, he said: “Short-termism, micro-politics, regulatory burden, red tape, bilateralism and the urge to refill the state coffers are the forces that continue to pay havoc with the European aviation sector.

“Few European countries have a thoroughly thought-through and fully formulated aviation policy. Long-term challenges are being ignored at our peril.”

The recently completed “Challenges of Growth 2013” report from EUROCONTROL shows that despite slower traffic growth prospects in the next 20 years, Europe continues to face a severe airport capacity crunch.

The main reason for this capacity crunch lies in the fact that airports have been forced to sharply reduce their capacity expansion plans, the report said.

Revenue pressures, capital costs, a lack of political support, poor planning processes and decreasing confidence are all “colluding to constrain airport development” in Europe. 

While this airport capacity crunch will be more acute in Turkey, the UK, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Poland and Italy, it will have severe repercussions throughout Europe.

Collier added: “This report is a warning bell for European aviation. It means that more than ever, Europe’s airport need to be given their licence to plan, finance and deliver new facilities – all within reasonable time frames.”

He called for a European Action Plan on airport capacity that would seriously address the airport capacity crunch. 

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