ACI EUROPE Director General Editorials Articles

  • The Persistence of Time…  & Taxes

    The Persistence of Time… & Taxes

    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.

  • Aviation’s visibility, no guarantee of vision

    Aviation’s visibility, no guarantee of vision

    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.

  • 2 years on: Stronger, more efficient and service-minded

    2 years on: Stronger, more efficient and service-minded

    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.

  • Green shoots: Coming soon

    Green shoots: Coming soon

    Just as things looked like they were stabilising, the Cyprus financial drama came as a stark reminder that Europe’s financial crisis is all but resolved – and that our continent remains a weak spot in the World economy. Indeed, the overall traffic trend for Europe’s airports remains negative. Only freight traffic seems to be finally picking up, although from a very low base. Unless you are a Turkish or Russian airport, this winter season bears all the signs of the much talked about triple dip recession. 2013 might well be a year to forget.

  • The Financing Cliff

    The Financing Cliff

    As I write these lines, Eurostat has just released its latest figures showing that the Eurozone has fallen back into recession. At the same time, the EU is engaged in tense negotiations over its budget for the next 7 years – with Member States arguing for cuts and the European Commission pleading for more money to be spent on growth-enabling sectors and projects.

  • Learning to live with Growth 2.0

    Learning to live with Growth 2.0

    At many airports across Europe, the peak summer months have not lived up to expectations. Subdued passenger traffic and continued negatives for freight traffic reflect the bite of fiscal austerity as well as weakened consumer and business confidence. The winter season ahead of us looks set to be difficult, with renewed fears of capacity cuts by airlines. For many of them, oil price levels and weak demand mean that flying less is likely to make economic sense. This means both increasing seasonality and decreasing revenues for airports – with the challenge of service quality requiring that most of our facilities (and the underlying costs) be scaled for the peaks.

  • Better, Fitter & More Performant

    Better, Fitter & More Performant

    With uncertainty being the new constant, becoming the leanest is the mantra for any business across Europe. Airports are no exception – and while air traffic showed remarkable resilience last year, it is now being hit by a Eurozone crisis that leaves very few activities untouched.

  • 2012 – The Moment of Truth

    2012 – The Moment of Truth

    To some extent, last year has proven to be a surprisingly good year for European aviation. Despite dark clouds gathering over the economy, passenger traffic has shown a remarkable resilience throughout 2011, growing in excess of 7%. Of course, a closer look ultimately reveals a much contrasted picture between national markets, well beyond the usual divide between a mature Western Europe and an ‘emerging’ Eastern Europe. But the underlying trend is that passenger traffic has systematically outperformed GDP – even in a country like Greece, where it kept growing by nearly 2% in the face of an economy shrinking by 6.6%.

  • Double Dip, Back Down to Hard Ground

    Double Dip, Back Down to Hard Ground

    There’s an old saying that good news doesn’t sell newspapers. With the ongoing saga of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would gladly buy a newspaper pushing an overdue wave of good news. As it stands, the headlines look set to be gloomy for some time. The impact of the sovereign debt crisis on aviation is already significant. Freight traffic stopped growing before the summer and has since gone into negative figures. Weakening business confidence has led companies to stop replenishing stocks. With industrial output in Europe now at a standstill – or even decreasing, the awful truth is evident: recession is at our doorstep.

  • Every flight begins at the airport

    Every flight begins at the airport

    Welcome to the new look ‘Airport Business’. I hope you like the updated design and the new features we have introduced. You may also recognise that this editorial’s headline is our new motto, launched with our brand new ACI EUROPE website recently.

  • These interesting times 24… months

    These interesting times 24… months

    Many of you will be aware of an American television show called ‘24’ about a man dealing with all kinds of extreme situations, surprises and alarming circumstances over the course of 24 hours. Given the shock sensitive nature of the aviation industry, I have sometimes wondered why television studios don’t make more dramas about aviation, invariably involving airports.

  • From Fire-Fighting to Future-Proofing

    From Fire-Fighting to Future-Proofing

    With passenger traffic figures showing a stronger and more dynamic recovery, the early months of 2011 finally delivered the positive signals that most of Europe’s airports had been waiting for all through 2010.

  • 578,062

    578,062

    578,062 Tonnes. Thanks to Airport Carbon Accreditation, this is the amount of CO2 emissions that Europe’s airports have managed to reduce so far.

  • Serving our members today and tomorrow

    Serving our members today and tomorrow

    The peak summer months have seen European air traffic pursuing its recovery, a more than welcome trend after the unprecedented fallout caused by the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano – not to mention the massive declines of last year. With monthly passenger growth above 5% in recent months, the prospects are looking up again.

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    4 Lessons from the volcanic ash crisis

    Since 2008, it seems to me that writing for this editorial on anything but the state of near-constant crisis in which the aviation industry has lived would put me off message. But as I was already looking ahead to the summer, I thought Europe’s airports would be back to some form of operational and commercial ‘normality’. Alas, this proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking. After the global crisis and a renewed terrorist threat, a volcanic eruption was just around the corner.

  • Olivier Jankovec

    Connecting Aviation Policy with Market Reality

    Europe’s airports certainly did not need yet another terrorist threat in the final days of 2009 to conclude their most challenging year on record. With nearly 3 years of growth lost for passenger traffic – the equivalent of close to 100 million passengers gone – and 4 years of growth lost for freight, the past year already deserved to be called an annus horribilis.

  • Olivier Jankovec

    Renewed call for competitive crisis relief

    Fresh data for the third quarter of 2009 released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, have confirmed expectations. With eurozone countries reporting a +0.4% growth compared with the previous three months, European recession is officially over. Although this is certainly good news for aviation, it cannot be taken for more than what it is: brighter light at the end of the tunnel.

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    Cautiously looking ahead to better prospects

    A year has passed since air traffic started its unprecedented decline in the wake of Lehman Brothers bank going bust. It has certainly not been a cheerful summer for European airports. Systemic capacity cuts by airlines combined with the bankruptcy of MyAir and SkyEurope have translated into traffic losses for the vast majority of airports. Only a happy few have experienced traffic gains, exclusively driven by low cost carriers. But even then, this has often been at the expense of other airports, with aircraft moving from depressed markets to others looking more promising.

  • ACI EUROPE President Address: Turning commitment into action at a critical time

    ACI EUROPE President Address: Turning commitment into action at a critical time

    As I near the end of my second term as President of ACI EUROPE and prepare to handover to my successor after the 19th ACI EUROPE Annual Congress, it has been interesting to look back and take stock of all that’s changed since June 2007. Those days looks positively rose-tinted by comparison with the testing and turbulent times that have befallen the European economy since then.

  • Small and regional is beautiful (and very challenging)

    Small and regional is beautiful (and very challenging)

    The extraordinarily pessimistic times currently befalling the global economy have seen many comparing the current situation with the infamous great depression of the 1930s. For aviation and airports in particular, the analogy fails to deliver any direct relevance.

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