In 2017, the number of passengers transported by air in the EU exceeded 1 billion, with Bulgaria among the countries with the most solid growth of air passengers and passengers travelling through Sofia airport increased by over 30%, according to the European Statistics data.
Last year, 1.043 billion passengers travelled by air across the European Union, representing an increase of 70.5 million (or 7%) versus 2016, and 39% more than in 2009. Eurostat notes that during this period passenger air transport in the EU has steadily increased.
The EU air transport in 2017 accounts for almost half (47%) of total passenger air transport in the Union, outside the European Union – over one third (36%), while national air transport was less than one-quarter of the total number of passengers travelling by air (or 17%).
The largest number of passengers last year was reported in the United Kingdom (265 million passengers), followed by Germany (212 million), Spain (210 million), France (154 million) and Italy (144 million). According to Eurostat, there has been an increase in the number of passengers in all EU Member States.
At the same time, the strongest growth compared to a year earlier in the number of airborne passengers was reported in Slovenia (up 20%), followed by Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia and the Czech Republic (up 19%) and Romania, Croatia and Malta (by 18%).
According to Eurostat data, the total number of air passengers in Bulgaria reached 11.093 million in 2017 (an increase of 19% compared to 2016).
The European official statistics also provided data showing that London’s Heathrow Airport was busiest in 2017 with nearly 78 million passengers (up 3% from 2016) followed by Paris Airport Charles de Gaulle (69 million and an increase of 5%), Amsterdam Airport – Schiphol (68 million passengers and an increase of 8%), Frankfurt am Main (64 million and an increase of 6%) and Madrid airport Barajas (52 million passengers and an increase of 6%).