The attendance of French airports rose 4.8 per cent in 2018, 206.4 million passengers, driven by rising low-cost carriers and international flows, said on Thursday the Union of French airports (UAF) in its annual study.
This growth, however, remains below the european average (+5.4% in the EU), and lower than that of 2017 (+5.7 per cent).
“There has been a dynamic growth in 2018, but it is this year below the european average, which is explained in part by a competitiveness always degraded” in France, summed up with the AFP Thomas June, president of the UAF.
“We crossed for the first time the bar of 200 million passengers, which shows that the air transport is now in a dynamic where it is a transport mode is relevant as soon as the other modes of transport do not respond sufficiently to the expectations,” noted Mr. June.
The low-cost carriers have remained the main engine of growth. They now represent 32% of national traffic, according to the study.
International flows have also boosted the traffic through an increase of 5.7% in 2018 in metropolitan France, compared with +2.4% for domestic traffic, according to the UAF.
In the ranking of UAF’s ten largest French airports by volume of passengers, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (+4%) and Orly (+3,4%) head the list, followed by the Nice-Côte d’azur (+4,1%), Lyon-Saint Exupéry (+7.4 per cent), Toulouse Blagnac (+3.9 per cent), Marseille-Provence, france (+4,3%), Basel-Mulhouse (+8,7%), Bordeaux-Mérignac (+9,3%), Nantes-Atlantique (+12.9%) and Paris-Beauvais (+3.8 per cent).
The regional airports “continuing on the momentum of the strong growth of recent years,” the study notes. Those of them where the traffic exceeds 5 million passengers (Nice-Côte d’azur, Lyon Saint Exupéry, Marseille-Provence, Toulouse-Blagnac, Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, Basel-Mulhouse, Nantes-Atlantique) have registered a growth of 6.6% in the previous year.
The UAF also notes that the number of movements of commercial aircraft (that is to say, the number of take-offs and landings) increased slightly (+0,6%) thanks to the optimization of air capacity by the companies, under the pressure of the model low-cost airlines.
Among the topics, the president of the UAF warned of the risk of “Brexit” without an agreement. “This is a big concern especially in terms of taxation” is concerned about Mr. June, for which “he should expect that there are line closures”.
On the Foundation of air transport, which closed in early march, “we still have points of satisfaction, in particular the assertion by the minister [of Transportation Elizabeth Terminal] of the role that will play in air transportation in the coming years in a complementarity of transport modes “and that it had never been expressed”, he assured.