Traffic Report 2011
500,000 fewer passengers at Airport Weeze due to air traffic tax
The distortion of competition leads to a dramatic drop in passenger numbers
Airport Weeze registered nearly 500,000 fewer passengers in 2011 in comparison with the previous year. The third largest airport in North-Rhine Westphalia reports with 16.4 % and 2,421,720 passengers for the first time since 2006 a drop in traffic. Cause of the dive in numbers is the introduction of the air traffic tax by the government.
The Lower Rhine Region Airport developed over the previous years with above average growth rates to the third largest international airport in NRW. The air traffic tax introduced by the government at the beginning of 2011 hit the up-and coming airport with a double blow.
Firstly the passenger tax burdens the low-priced airline tickets at Airport Weeze disproportionally. After the announcement of the air traffic tax the airlines reacted immediately and reduced their range of choice significantly. Secondly last year Dutch passengers started to use their domestic airports again. In the Netherlands the government abolished a similar tax in 2009. While in 2010 Airport Weeze could welcome more Dutch than German passengers, a passenger survey in autumn 2011 showed that the share of Dutch passengers at Airport Weeze dropped from 52 % to 40 %.
Chief executive Ludger van Bebber said: “W e already predicted the massive loss in passenger numbers due to the air traffic tax and gave an early warning of the consequences. The tax which causes a distortion of competition inflicted severe economic damage on us and our partners. We appeal to the people in charge to rescind the air traffic tax in 2012.”
Mr van Bebber is looking ahead to the year just started with reservation: “Further development remains difficult for our Airport as long as the tax, which burdened our passengers and airlines in 2011 alone with over 9 million Euros exists. Under current conditions we do not expect to return to growth in 2012.”