EuroAirport focuses on sustainable development
Passenger numbers reached a new high of 9.1 million in 2019. In the last four months of the year, there was a slowdown in year-on-year growth. Express freight, an important service segment for the regional economy, also increased. Cargo traffic, on the other hand, showed a year-on-year decline overall. EuroAirport has defined its Strategy 2030 on the basis of sustainable development.
In 2019, the debate on reducing aviation's climate impact became yet more important across Europe, and, of course, for EuroAirport too. In particular, the issue was included in EuroAirport’s Strategy 2030, which was adopted by the Board of Directors in June 2019. The strategic mission of Basel-Mulhouse Airport is to ensure air transport connections between the trinational region and the major European cities while respecting the principles of sustainable development. Demand for efficient air transport in the trinational region remains strong. The challenge for the airport is to find a balance between the economic demands of the region, the noise protection needs of the airport's neighbours and an environmentally conscious population, and the social responsibility it has as being one of the largest employers in the trinational region. Harmonizing the economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainability is the guiding principle for all activities at EuroAirport. The airport has therefore defined the following strategic fields of action: customer focus, sustainability and the environment, safety and security, and Franco-Swiss cooperation.
Customer focus: 9.1 million passengers, more express freight, Top Efficiency Excellence Award
In July 2019, EuroAirport was recognised by independent experts at the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) as the most efficient European airport recording up to 15 million passengers. The award shows that the airport can hold its own in an international competitive environment. In 2019, work was focussed on capacity adjustments and modernization in the arrival area, increasing the number of passport control points on departure and arrival levels and improving the parking situation. EuroAirport exceeded the 9 million passenger mark for the first time in December 2019. The airport recorded 9.1 million passengers, an increase of around 6 % (2018: 8.6 million). This increase is comparable with growth figures of similar-sized European airports. The number of commercial flight movements (take-offs and landings of passenger and freight flights including charter flights) rose by 3.4 % to 81,533.
Express freight, an important area of activity at EuroAirport, grew again in 2019: 2 percent more express freight from and for the region was handled in Basel-Mulhouse. Cargo business, on the other hand, was down by 14 %. The proportion of air freight transported by road feeder service likewise fell (by 5.9 percent). Overall, freight business was down by 3.7 % year on year, to 106,075 tonnes. EuroAirport is thus in line with the trend for declining freight traffic that can be observed throughout Europe.
In the third strategic area of business, industry, 2019 saw the start of construction work on the fifth hanger of AMAC Aerospace. The hangar is expected to be completed in 2020. Employing over 2,000 people, the industry business sector makes a significant contribution to regional value creation at the airport site.
EuroAirport expects passenger and freight numbers to stabilise at the 2019 level over the coming year.
Sustainability and the environment: the central challenge of noise abatement
In terms of aircraft noise between 11 p.m. and midnight, when air traffic has the biggest impact on neighbours’ quality of life, the goals set in spring 2018 could not yet be achieved with the measures taken on its own authority. The airport’s management has therefore decided to take further steps, in collaboration with the authorities, to reduce noise significantly during the second hour of the night. This will be done within the framework of the legally prescribed procedure of the “balanced approach” in accordance with EU Regulation 598/2014. In September 2019, two independent consultancy firms began preparatory work on behalf of the aviation authorities. In doing so, they are interviewing more than 90 airport partners, including representatives of municipalities, cantons, airlines and residential associations. The final interviews will be completed by the end of January 2020. On the basis of the results, the EuroAirport Board of Directors will apply to the French aviation authorities for more enhanced noise abatement measures in spring 2020.
In the long term, a “limiting noise curve” should be defined as a prerequisite for the further development of EuroAirport. This would limit the maximum permissible noise which will not be able to be exceeded, even for expansion and optimization initiatives. At the instigation of the airport, the measure originally planned for 2022 in the French environmental noise prevention plan (PPBE) is being brought forward. Work has already begun to ensure planning security with regard to future noise development as soon as possible.
With regard to its own carbon footprint, EuroAirport is following an action plan with the aim of reducing its own CO2 emissions per traffic unit (one passenger or 100 kg of freight) by 20 percent with regard to 2015 levels by 2022. As part of the Airport Carbon Accreditation certification system, EuroAirport is continuously analysing its scope to further reduce CO2 and optimizing its own operations.
Safety and security: ongoing enhancement
The continuous improvement of safety processes is one of EuroAirport's strategic fields of action. In 2019, the airport constructed additional control points for the French and Swiss border police in order to reduce waiting times for passengers at passport control on departure and arrival levels. In addition, capacity was increased at security checkpoints in hall 1 on the French side. The first systems for automatic passport control were installed at the end of the year.
Franco-Swiss cooperation: 70th anniversary of a binational success story
In 2019, representatives of France and Switzerland came together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the treaty that continues to form the basis of the first and only binational airport in the world. The close involvement of our German partners is also essential to this success story. Several central projects for the future embody EuroAirport's cross-border positioning as a gateway to the entire trinational region. The planned rail link, for example, connects the cross-border French TER and Swiss S-Bahn networks. Once it becomes operational, the new direct link between France and Switzerland will make day-to-day travel much easier and lead to a marked shift from road transport to rail in particular. In a second step, the airport will also enjoy direct connections with Germany when the “Herzstück” in Basel starts operating.
The rail link to Basel-Mulhouse airport will thus significantly improve the quality of accessibility and increase the proportion of public transport. Planning work will continue in 2020. Following the necessary consultations and official approval of the project, construction work is planned between 2024 and 2028.
SUMMARY OF TRAFFIC STATISTICS 2019
Passenger traffic: 9,090,279 passengers used EuroAirport in 2019 (a rise of 6 %).
Freight traffic: Freight business was down to a total volume of 106,075 tonnes in 2019 (a fall of 3.7 %). Cargo business dropped by 14 % to 13,518 tonnes. Air freight transported by road feeder service amounted to 44,530 tonnes (a fall of 5.9 %). Express freight rose by 2 % to 48,027 tonnes.
Flight movements (take-offs and landings): The number of commercial passenger and freight flight movements (scheduled and charter flights) rose by 3.4 % and, with 81,553 movements, corresponds to just over 82 percent of all flight movements (99,311; an increase of 2.1 %).
EuroAirport ensures the accessibility of the trinational Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg region by air, taking into account the principles of sustainable development.
EuroAirport is served by 25 scheduled airlines and offers direct flights to over 100 destinations in more than 30 countries. Thanks to the strong presence of airlines that are members of the Star Alliance, oneworld or SkyTeam alliances, EuroAirport can offer several intercontinental connections per day via the main European hubs (London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Istanbul, Vienna, Düsseldorf and Barcelona).
In the freight business, the four main express freight carriers are present at EuroAirport: DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS. In the cargo sector, the needs of the regional export economy for transport of temperature-sensitive goods are met by Qatar Airlines, Ibéria and Turkish Airlines operating via the hubs of Doha, Madrid and Istanbul to distant markets directly from EuroAirport.
The industry sector, comprising Air Service Basel, AMAC Aerospace, Jet Aviation and NOMAD Technics constitutes a highly specialized centre of excellence for the refurbishment and maintenance of private and business aircraft. This centre of excellence employs over 2,000 people.