New research from the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI) has revealed passenger traffic at Europe's airports increased in 2013.
Overall passenger traffic grew by 2.8 per cent last year. Turkey, Russia, Iceland and other countries outside of the European Union saw significant traffic growth of 9.6 per cent. Non-EU airports contributed a total of 22 per cent of the overall passenger traffic in the region.
Airports in the EU saw passenger traffic increase just one per cent. ACI Europe is confident these results indicate a trend of recovery coming out of the last quarter of 2013.
ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said European passenger traffic increased by 5.5 per cent in December 2013, a pleasing result after the year started at -1.6 per cent in traffic during January.
In terms of passengers, international arrivals made up the bulk of traffic in Europe last year as local transport alternatives such as high-speed rail contributed to a smaller increase in domestic passenger traffic through the region's airports.
Looking ahead to 2014, Mr Jankovec said the outlook for air traffic was cautiously optimistic.
"There seem to be enough hopeful signs that Europe can sustain its nascent economic recovery, which is pointing to an even more positive picture for air traffic in the months ahead," Mr Jankovec said.
While non-EU airports continue to pull ahead, Mr Jankovec said the performance gap had actually grown smaller during the later months of 2013. EU airports in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece were making up lost ground.