West-to-East traffic shift continues for summer 2012

Over the summer months (June to September included), European traffic has been close to the last forecast published in May 2012. Nevertheless, high oil prices, a weaker economic outlook and other factors have all led to a downwards revision of the forecast. The forecast update is for 1.5% fewer flights in 2012 and a stagnation in 2013.
The number of flights in European airspace in summer 2012 fell by 1.5% when compared to summer 2011. This hides large disparities between different types of market segments with some posting growth and others large decreases.

The overall drop in the summer traffic for 2012 was driven by a fall (-3.7%) in traditional scheduled flights. This was only partially offset by an increase in the two other main categories: low-cost (up 4.4%) and charter (up 3.9%).

A further analysis reveals the recent pattern experienced in European airspace: traffic is gradually shifting from West to East. The busiest airports on a daily basis depict an imbalanced picture as half of them grow and the remaining shrink. The shift is illustrated by two airports in opposite regions. Madrid Barajas (-12.1%) and Istanbul-Ataturk (+12.3%) show the biggest changes in percentage points.

Spain and Turkey were also the countries with the highest variability in terms of city pairs. Istanbul-Izmir grew remarkably compared to the previous year. Two major Spanish pairs showed substantial decreases: Barcelona-Madrid and Barcelona-Palma. These were the only three pairs to have fluctuations of over 10%.
Some of the main European hubs appear on the top 10 departure airports most affected by all-causes of delay. During the summer, airports situated in typical tourist destinations joined the list. With the exception of Paris Charles de Gaulle, all the departure airports among the top 10 most affected are to be found in the UK or the Iberian peninsula. The summer 2012 average all-cause delay per flight was 9.4 min which represents a reduction of 18% compared to 2011. The percentage of flights delayed by more than 5 minutes also fell by 3.8% year on year.


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