European airport trade body ACI Europe has recorded a higher growth in EU airports in comparison with their non-EU counterparts for the first time in eight years.
ACI noted that for a sustained period of time, passenger traffic in non-EU countries such as Russia, Switzerland and Turkey grew at a much faster pace.
However, according to the October figures, passenger traffic at Europe’s airports grew by 5.5%, with airports in the EU recording a 5.6% increase. Istanbul recorded 12.8% increase in traffic, while Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and London also witnessed an increase in passengers.
The increase in passenger traffic at non-EU airports in Europe such as Iceland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey grew by 5.1%.
Freight traffic increased by 3.1%, while aircraft movements increased by 2.2%.
Speaking about the trend, ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: "For the first time since 2006, EU airports have outpaced non-EU ones in terms of air traffic growth.
"Airports in Russia are experiencing a significant slowdown in passenger traffic against the background of increasing recessionary risks for the Russian economy, due to the continued impact of sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, structural problems and now falling energy prices.
"In the other major non-EU aviation market, airports are also experiencing slower growth in passenger traffic, with the notable exception of those airports serving Istanbul. Meanwhile, EU airports continue to experience dynamic increases in air traffic in sharp contrast to anaemic economic growth in the eurozone. The increase in passenger traffic is particularly impressive in Greece, Romania, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Lithuania."
ACI Europe’s Airport Traffic Report October 2014 comprises 205 airports which represent more than 88% of European air passenger traffic.