ACI EUROPE Activities
As we are preparing to assemble in Frankfurt for our 24th Annual Congress & General Assembly, trading conditions have continued to improve markedly since the beginning of the year.
2014 is off to a pretty good start with more than 80% of Europe’s airports registering passenger growth – our best performance in more than 2 years.
Autumn is always a very busy period in political terms and this year is no exception. But the fact that both the European Parliament and the European Commission are nearing the end of their 5-year mandates has added some more pressure. With the Parliamentary elections due to take place in May and a new Commission taking office after summer 2014, priorities are being reconsidered with a focus on getting things done before next spring. This means that in the coming weeks the EU’s aviation agenda will mainly be about the revision of the State aid Guidelines, revised passenger rights regulations and possibly some elements of the ‘Airport Package’. There is also the follow-up of the 38th ICAO Assembly.
The summer is over and the outlook for our industry is now looking a little bit brighter. Air traffic – at least on the passenger side – has reflected improved macroeconomics, with unemployment finally starting to fall in the EU and both business and consumer confidence improving. While May and June were pretty good, July and August could have been better had the weather been less clement in northern parts of Europe. Still, it is especially encouraging to see markets like Ireland and Portugal posting significant growth in passenger traffic. Also, while airlines are still not adding more capacity, at least they now seem to refrain from cutting more flights and frequencies. Falling oil prices should help this situation gather some momentum – even though downside risks remain significant.
The ACI EUROPE Annual Congress and General Assembly is always a special moment for our association and its members. This is when we come together as an industry and take a moment to look back at what we have done over the past year, analyse current trading conditions, and look into the industry crystal ball, at future challenges.