WE promote a wider understanding of
the challenges facing civil aviation in Europe

Fast Facts

  • More than 2.6 billion passengers pass through Europe's airports every year, connecting places, people and products.
  • According to its 2018 publication ''European Aviation in 2040 - Challenges of Growth'', EUROCONTROL estimates that there will be an increase of 53% in flight movements between now and 2040. It also estimates that up to 1.5 million flights - 160 million passengers - will be unable to fly by 2040 if capacity is not increased at airports.


  • The past 20 years have seen European airports evolve from mere infrastructure providers into fully fledged businesses in their own right.
  • According to a 2015 study by InterVISTAS on the Economic Impact of European Airports, airports contribute to the employment of 12.3 million people, earning €365 billion in income annually. Overall, they generate €675 billion in income annually - accounting for 4.1% of GDP in Europe.
  • Airports typically rely on two distinct revenue streams: aeronautical revenues consisting of charges paid by airlines and passengers for the use of airport facilities and services; and non-aeronautical revenues consisting of a wide range of commercial activities.
  • 47% of Europe's airports are loss-making - with 76% of airports with less than 1 million passengers per year, in the red.
  • Airport charges paid by airlines are well below the cost of the infrastructure they use. Revenues from these charges make up just 48% of airports' overall revenues.
  • Airports are extremely capital intensive businesses due to the need to keep investing for the future and ensure that their facilities are up to date and able to meet projected passenger and freight demand. Europe's airports are investing more than €55.3 billion over 2015-2018 with capital cost accounting for 28% of total cost.
  • According to the 2016 ACI EUROPE report The Ownership of Europe’s Airports, over 40% of Europe's airports have at least some private shareholders - and these airports handle close to 75% of passenger traffic each year. Now only around a quarter of European airport passengers travel via an airport which has no private shareholder.


  • Europe’s airports have for decades integrated environmental sustainability in their day-to-day management and long-term strategic objectives. Initially focusing on their local impact (noise, water management, air quality, biodiversity), they are now committed to address the global impact of aviation in relation to Climate Change, along with their industry partners.
  • Following the commitment by Europe’s airports to become carbon neutral for operations under their direct control (in the ACI EUROPE resolution of June 2008), ACI EUROPE launched Airport Carbon Accreditation in June 2009. The first programme of its kind, Airport Carbon Accreditation is a unique carbon management certification programme. It is independently administered and institutionally endorsed. In November 2014, the programme went global. As of September 2019, there are 284 airports certified at one of the 4 levels in the programme. Collectively, they welcome 43.4% of global air passenger traffic annually. Visit the interactive results website for the programme at www.airportCO2.org


  • An average 20% of airport operating costs are security-related, with a significant percentage of airport staff being security-related.
  • Europe is the only region in the world, where aviation security receives little or no state funding.

Regional Airports' Forum

  • Regional airports play a vital role in connecting the regions of Europe – largely defining the economy of their communities and bolstering social cohesion. Proximity to an airport is still in the top 5 considerations of any international company considering investing in a region.
  • Airline Route Volatility casts a significant shadow on Europe's regional airports in particular. In 2013, whereas 2,296 new intra-European air routes were opened, 2,045 were closed.
  • With airlines firmly focussed on yields, rather than increasing capacity, the net number of new routes set up each year is also decreasing. In 2010, the net number of new routes opened in Europe was 1,411. In 2013, it was just 251.



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