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Paradigm shift in airport traffic

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SINGAPORE, 4 October 2023: The top 50 ranking of the busiest airports by outbound international passenger traffic released by travel analytics firm ForwardKeys paints a dramatic picture compared to the pre-pandemic era. 

What differs substantially from that of 2019 is the significant movement among European and MENA airports. 

In Europe, substantial ranking gains for Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) and Antalya (AYT) reflect continued demand for “sun and beach” destinations in Turkey as holidaymakers seek better value for money, as well as the rise of Istanbul’s Airport as a key global hub. 

Berlin Brandenburg (BER) enters the top 50 airports by international departures for the first time, having replaced the city’s Schonefeld and Tegel airports – which closed in 2020. 

Paris Orly (ORY) climbed 13 places compared with 2019, partly due to additional capacity added by the inauguration of the new Terminal 3 in April 2019. 

Malaga-Costa del Sol (AGP) also enters the top 50, with international outbound seat capacity boosted by the opening of EasyJet’s new seasonal base at the airport in 2021 and new connections to the USA and Middle East. 

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Cairo International (CAI) and Jeddah (JED) show significant ranking gains of 26 and 16 places, respectively, emphasising the growing importance of the region for business travel and long-haul transit, along with the continued promotion of tourism by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states looking to diversify their economies. 

 “These figures only demonstrate that what we are seeing in some destinations is not travel recovery but a shift in how people travel, with plenty of emerging new business opportunities for retailers and brands to consider in Europe and the Middle East. While APAC reactivation is taking longer with noticeable changes in traveller preferences and traveller profiles, which is greatly impacting the top global airports,” says ForwardKeys VP of brands, retail and media Marina Giuliano.  

ForwardKeys team of travel intelligence analysts reveal additional gems in the just-released The Busiest Airports of the World report, just in time for the travel retail sectors’ much-anticipated industry event, the TFWA Conference in Cannes. 

ForwardKeys team of travel intelligence analysts reveal additional gems in the just-released The Busiest Airports of the World report. Download the report by visiting the ForwardKeys website

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