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Europe's fastest-growing airports are near unknowns


Air traffic figures are funny beasts: sometimes, even when you know what you're looking for, it's hard to define it (do you count passengers or flights? Does a London-New York flight count for both continents?).

And then there are the surprises: You probably haven't heard of some of Europe's fastest-growing airports. They are all in Romania, and only one belongs to a city of significant size. The three are Oradea, in northwest Romania, with a 500% increase, Iasi with 131% and Bucharest's secondary airport at 122%.

Numbers 4 and 5 aren't that well-known either: Ostend, Belgium and Palanga, Lithuania, at 65% and 60%.

But 'fastest-growing' obviously doesn't mean busiest, and none of these make it anywhere near the  top, where the  slots are held, as they almost always are, by London Heathrow, Paris CDG, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

As for passenger numbers: there's another field of enigmas and chimeras, but comparing several sets of figures and you come out with North America and Europe holding about 26% apiece of world passenger traffic, 30% for China and Southeast Asia and 18% for the rest of the world.

That's obviously going to change. There's a limit to how many short-haul vacation trips Europeans can take, and both India and other areas of Asia are growing new routes and passenger bases at a rapid rate. See you at the airport!

Photo: Oradea, Romania 

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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