We chose 2007 as a reference, before the 2008 financial crisis. We note that the behaviour of the major airlines has changed. With the exception of Schiphol in Netherlands, none of the other major airports found in 2016 the number of movements of 2007, while the growth in passenger numbers was for example 12% for Heathrow, 10% for Paris CDG and 12 % for Frankfurt. Schiphol on the other hand, benefited from a very important growth over the period: more than 33% in number of passengers, plus 9% in number of flight movements between 2007 and 2016. In 2016 Madrid has still not found the level of 2007 in number of passengers.
After a significant growth in 2016, the first figures for the year 2017 show an even more important growth of passenger traffic in Europe: above 7% globally on 2016 basis and a growth in flight movements, even though it is not at the same level…
In 2000, Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports recorded 64.6 and 48.2 million passengers respectively. In 2016, statistics showed an increase of 17% for Heathrow and above 36% for Paris CDG. Indeed, the number of passengers at Heathrow in 2016 amounted to 75.7 M while Paris CDG registered 65.9 M passengers.
Compared to 2007 figures we see that airlines changed their strategy to increase their air transport after the 2008 economic crisis. This increase is particularly outstanding for Paris CDG where the number of passengers increased much faster than the number of flight movements.
There has also been an increase in cargo tonnage between 2000 and 2016. Heathrow registered 1.4 M tons of cargo at the beginning of the century and this number was increased to 1.6 M tons in 2016. This increase is nothing compared to Paris CDG where the figures went from 1.6 M tons in 2000 to 2.1 M tons in 2016.
Airports and night flights
Night flights are counted on an 8 hours night according to the definition of the night of WHO and Europe Directive 2002/49/EU. In the UK and the Netherlands night is between 11 pm and 7 am; in other European countries from 10 pm to 6 am. Paris CDG registered 56,725 night flights in 2000 with a peak of 61,385 in 2007 to decrease to 55,228 in 2016. For Heathrow, official figures are not available. However, estimates by Jon Stewart show the number of night flights at about 30,000 movements, which is an increase compared to BAA statistics, which recorded 27,200 planes flying at night in 2010.
A spectacular decrease in the number of night flights can be noted for Frankfurt Airport. This is the result of the tough battle of NGOs which obtained a night curfew, imposed since October 2011, from 11 pm to 5 am, and which was confirmed by the High Court of Justice of Leipzig in March 2012. Night flights went from 45,888 in 2010 to 31,273 in 2016.
On the other hand, Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands has registered a slight decrease in the number of night flights between 11 pm and 6 am, but the figures show an increase in the work-hour window from 6 to 7 am: 7,633 in 2007 and 10,938 in 2016. The airport registered 32,787 planes flying between 11 pm and 7 am in 2016, over the limit of 32,000 night flight movements (like in 2015 already). This limit of 32,000 has been set for Schiphol until 2020 and then, afterwards for all airports together in the Netherlands.
Night flights’ decline marks a milestone for all those fighting for a total ban on them. UECNA will keep on being the voice for these people, but there is still a long way to go.