17 Feb The 2015 figures are in; continuing growth for European aviation

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Last year we presented our first infographic on aviation growth. As the figures on 2015 emerge we can update the data. The 2.2% increase in aircraft movements in 2015 was significantly bigger than the increase of 1.7 % reported over 2014. Even more impressive when you consider the 5.2% increase in number of passengers to a total of 1.95 billion. This has mainly been achieved through bigger aircraft and higher load factors. What about Norwegian for example whose aircraft were on average 87% full.

The crown for the biggest growth achieved by a top ten airport in 2015 goes to Madrid Barajas with a 12% increase. On our home market Amsterdam Schiphol kept its top five position with a record number of 58,3M passengers, 30% of which intercontinental. Schiphol remains the airport with the highest sustainable hourly capacity in Europe and as such is perfectly capable of hub operations. To continue on the current growth path there remains a need for additional ground infrastructure, terminal capacity and improved landside accessibility.

Aviation Growth

Strong strategy alignment beneficial for growth?

Last year we reported Istanbul Atatürk as the biggest growing airport. In 2015 it became the 3rd busiest airport in Europe, surpassing both Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt. Impressive considering both airports reported record passenger numbers in the same year. Atatürk is aligning its strategy with Turkish Airlines, which is already serving more countries than any other airline adding 20 new destinations per annum and are increasing frequencies to key markets. They benefit from a large and increasingly mobile home market, with over 77 million potential travellers.

Can strategy alignment turn sour?

But a strong strategic alliance between airport and airline can also become a main concern, like the dependency between Schiphol and KLM. The Dutch weekly Elsevier reported in October last year that 70% of all passengers (and 90% of all transfer passengers) using Schiphol were customers of Air France/KLM or one of the Skyteam partners. Like any close relationship, partners have a huge influence on each other. This is good, as long as its beneficial to both. It can also block progress, when Emirates airlines was granted a second slot for an A380 direct flight from Dubai to Amsterdam it led to discussions and even a petition by KLM personnel last month. Labour conflicts last summer at Air France immediately caused concern and political debate about the impact for Schiphol. The general discussion quickly turned to possibilities for an independent KLM or merger with a different non-European partner.

The future will tell whether strong the strategy alignment like Istanbul Atatürk and Turkish Airlines remains beneficial. In a period of fast growth this certainly seems to be the case. The example of KLM and Schiphol shows all the signs of an old married couple; after almost 100 years still very much in love, but also bickering at every change.

About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. For more information please refer to www.to70.com

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Ruud Ummels
Ruud Ummels
Having spent six years in the Asia-Pacific region, working for both airport operators, as well as aviation authorities and air navigation service providers, I have helped deliver significant traffic growth at airports such as Melbourne, Singapore, Dubai, Taipei, Sydney, Guangzhou and Manila. A partner at To70 since 2011, I also contributed in our international expansion by setting up offices in Bangkok, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. In the last two years my focus has shifted back to Europe working on airport and airspace planning and optimisation projects and expanding our business to Belgium, Switzerland and the UK.
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