Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune raised Cork’s omission from ACI Europe’s survey yesterday and said it has now agreed to discuss the issue with the Dublin Airport Authority.
She said: “It is important that our regional airports are included because economic growth in the regions is vitally important, and airports would be one of the main drivers of that growth.
“And given Cork Airport’s strategic importance in this region, it would be important that we can track its performance in a European context.”
The ACI data, which samples 220 of the 600 European airports, shows that between January and June of this year, passenger traffic across the network grew by 4.5%, aircraft movements were up 2%, and freight traffic rose by 0.5%.
The figures show that passenger numbers at Dublin grew more than three times faster than the European average in that time — up 15.1% — the equivalent of some 1.5m extra passengers.
Dublin, which has welcomed almost 11.5m passengers since January, was also one of the best performing airports within its Group 2 peer group, which samples European airports of between 10m and 25m passengers per year.
It had the fourth largest passenger increase in this group, behind Athens (23.5%), London Stansted (16.9%) and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (16.6%).
Continental Europe was Dublin’s strongest performer followed closely by Britain. Amongst the larger airports, Madrid, Istanbul, London Gatwick, Amsterdam, and Barcelona were the best performers.
In the Group 4 section — airports which handle less than 5m passengers a year — Santorini in Greece, Sibiu and Cluj airports in Romania, Astrakhan in southern Russia, and Ponta Delgada airport on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, all experienced growth of between 29% and 33%.
Olivier Jankovec, ACI director general, said the growth trend is likely to continue for the rest of the year. “EU economies keep improving, in particular with the former bailed out economies of Ireland, Spain and Portugal surging ahead,” he said.
While Shannon Airport is up 12.1% for the period to just over 719,000 passengers, Cork and Knock airports are not included. A senior ACI analyst said their report includes a geographically and size-balanced sample of 220 airports which represents 88% of European traffic.
“The downside is that not all airports are included in the report which is the case of Cork, even though smaller airports have also their place in the sample,” she said.