NEWS Last modified on December 10, 2015

Traffic records at Budapest and Hamburg as passenger numbers rise in Europe

Traffic growth across Europe’s airports continued its upward trajectory in November, with Copenhagen Airport one of the continent’s top performing gateways courtesy of a healthy 12.2% rise in throughput.

Just over two million passengers passed through Denmark’s capital city gateway in November, the upturn being chiefly driven by European and intercontinental traffic.

The rise means that a total of 24.6 million passengers (+3.2%) have used the airport in the year to date.

“Among the intercontinental routes, Middle East destinations are becoming increasingly popular,” said airport CEO, Thomas Woldbye.

“UK and Italian destinations are the main drivers of growth on European routes. Notably, the increase in this segment also covers a rather significant increase in the number of foreign tourists and business people travelling to Denmark, creating revenue and jobs here.”

Elsewhere, London Heathrow welcomed 5.58 million passengers (+2%) last month making it the UK hub’s busiest November on record.

The airport says that the growth was driven by “larger, fuller, quieter aircraft”, and average load factors of 72.3% – up nearly 2% on the same month a year ago.

Within emerging markets, passenger volumes were particularly strong to Mexico (+52%), China (+19%) and the Middle East (+6%) as carriers continue to benefit from new aircraft such as the A380.

Never one to miss an opportunity to promote his airport, Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “The message to the Prime Minister this week is clear – expand Heathrow and unlock growth across the country.   

“Businesses and unions, regions and local communities and politicians from all parties want certainty and to get on with Heathrow’s new plan. We’re ready to deliver the hub capacity this country needs – we will work with the government to make it happen.”

It has already been a record year for both Hamburg and Budapest, which this week celebrated breaking the 15mppa and 10mppa barriers respectively for the first time.

Hamburg Airport broke the 15mppa barrier for the first time in its 104 year history when Marina Chernova – pictured above with the gateway’s CEO, Michael Eggenschwiler (left) and KLM station manager Eddy de Meyer (right) – became the 15 millionth passenger to use the German airport in 2015

Eggenschwiler noted: “We are delighted by this great result with more than 15 million passengers in 2015. This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our airline partners. 

“KLM has been active in Hamburg since 1920, and I am very grateful for this longstanding and trusting co-operation.

“With the stable development of traffic figures, Hamburg Airport remains a driving force for growth and a significant employer for Hamburg and the Metropolitan Region. Our environmental commitment means that, at the same time, we are investing in sustainable development.”

Budapest Airport, which handled 9.1 million passengers in 2014, welcomed its 10 millionth passenger this year earlier this week to cap two years of record-breaking traffic growth.

Indeed, passenger numbers have soared by 22% in the last five years, which is even more of an extraordinary achievement taking into account the demise of Hungarian national flag carrier, Malev, in 2012.

Budapest Airport’s CEO, Jost Lammers, enthused: “This is a proud moment for Budapest Airport, surpassing the 10 million mark speaks volumes for our hard work and our staying power as one of Europe’s leading airports.

“Our strategy for this year has been to seek out new and exciting destinations, as well as solidifying our position in Central Europe.

“Next year is already set to be even busier as we continue to do all we can to ensure Budapest, and Hungary, remain an attractive market, while we ensure the demands of our catchment area and beyond are met.”


Another gateway already celebrating a good year is Glasgow Airport, which is on track to record its busiest year since 2008 after welcoming 618,583 passengers through its doors in November, representing an annual increase of 7.7%.

International traffic grew by 12.2% due to strong demand for new routes to eastern European cities, including Wizz Air’s services to Budapest, Vilnius and Lublin and Ryanair’s new service to Berlin. 

Domestic traffic also grew by 4.5%, with Flybe’s newly reinstated service to Exeter proving popular. easyJet responded to strong demand for its London routes by increasing capacity on its Gatwick and Stansted services.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “2015 has been a fantastic year in terms of passenger growth. Our November figures not only guarantee we will end the year on a high, they will ensure we are in a strong position as we prepare to enter 2016, the airport’s 50th anniversary year.

“In addition to gearing up for the Christmas getaway, we have already seen a new service to Milan launch this month with easyJet and there is more to come before the end of the year. Later this month Blue Air and Wizz Air will both begin a new service to the Romanian capital of Bucharest and British Airways will start a new Saturday service to Salzburg for the ski season."

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