Determinants of an Airport Productivity Benchmark

branko_bubaloBy Branko Bubalo

Today’s airports are expansive and expensive infrastructures with considerable impact on population and the environment. In the past, we have seen almost unconstrained exponential growth of air transportation in the Western world, which has been fueled by deregulation and partial privatization of air transportation in the U.S. and in Europe. Today, North-American and European markets as well as major routes have matured considerably. Therefore, future growth of demand will happen in the Asian and in the Middle-Eastern markets, simultaneous with increasing wealth, consumption, and education. Having a functional and efficient infrastructure is essential for future growth in all economies. The European market will not stagnate at the current level; Europe will continue to serve as a gateway between the Americas and Asia, and it will grow, on average, at a comparably lower rate. There will be considerable growth at Eastern European airports. This results in a doubling of traffic or passengers in the next 16 to 20 years, putting currently congested airports under enormous pressure. The question for European institutions and policy is: Do European airports have the capacity to serve future demand or will there be a widening capacity gap?
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