Bulgaria among largest increases in air passenger transport in EU in 2017 – Eurostat
Bulgaria saw among the largest increases in air travellers in the European Union in 2017, with a total of more than 11 million passengers, an increase of 19 per cent compared with 2016, according to figures released by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
While Sofia Airport ranked only 63rd in passenger numbers, it saw more than 6.4 million passengers, about 30.5 per cent higher than in 2016, Eurostat said.
The EU statistics agency said that in 2017, 1.043 billion passengers travelled by air in the EU, up by seven per cent compared with 2016 and by 39 per cent compared with 2009.
Over this period, air passenger transport has steadily risen in the EU. In 2017, intra-EU transport represented almost half (47 per cent) of total air passenger transport in the EU and extra-EU transport over a third (36 per cent), while national transport accounted for fewer than one in every five passengers (17 per cent).
In 2017, the largest number of air passengers was recorded in the United Kingdom (265 million passengers), followed by Germany (212 million), Spain (210 million), France (154 million) and Italy (144 million).
The number of air passengers carried in 2017 rose in all EU Member States compared with 2016.
The highest increases were registered in Slovenia (+20 per cent), Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic (all +19 per cent), Romania, Croatia and Malta (all +18 per cent), ahead of Poland and Portugal (both +17 per cent).
Among the top five EU countries in terms of air passengers transported in 2017, the highest increases were registered in Spain (+eight per cent) and the United Kingdom (+six per cent).
Overall in the EU, the number of air passengers rose by 70.5 million (+7 per cent) between 2016 and 2017, driven by the rise in extra-EU (+9 per cent) and intra-EU transport (+7 per cent)
London/Heathrow remained the EU’s busiest passenger airport in 2017, with 78 million passengers handled, slightly up (+three per cent) compared with 2016.
Paris/Charles de Gaulle (69 million, +five per cent), Amsterdam/Schiphol (68 million, +eight per cent), Frankfurt/Main (64 million, +six per cent) and Madrid/Barajas (52 milion, +six per cent) completed the top five of the busiest airports in the EU.
They were followed by Barcelona/El Prat (47 milion, +seven per cent), London/Gatwick (46 million, +six per cent), Munich (45 million, +six per cent) and Roma/Fiumicino (41 million, -two per cent).
Each of the top 30 EU airports registered an increase in the number of passengers handled in 2017, except Berlin/Tegel (-four per cent) and Roma/Fiumicino (-two per cent).
The highest rises among the top 30 EU airports were registered in (Warszawa/Chopina (+23 per cent), ahead of Lisboa and Praha/Ruzyne (both +19 per cent), Milano/Malpensa and Brussels/National (both +14 per cent), Malaga/Costa del Sol (+12 per cent), Alicante and Helsinki/Vantaa (both +11 per cent), Eurostat said.
(Photo: Pablo Barrios)