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The ESPON 2013 Operational Programme
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Airports ÔÇô number of destinations, 2011

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Map
data source and more Map: TRACC, RRG
Data sources: RRG GIS Database
 

  • Airports of capitals and in the European core serve the highest number of destinations. This includes also EuropeÔÇÖs major hubs as London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam which serve domestic, continental and intercontinental flights.
  • Regional accessibility by air is especially relevant for sparsely populated areas, remote areas and regions that have considerable transport barriers e.g. islands.
  • Touristic areas, mainly in the Mediterranean, host airports with large numbers of destinations as well.

Observations for policy

Regional accessibility by air is especially relevant for sparsely populated areas and regions that have considerable transport barriers such as seas or remote areas. Flight connections from these areas to more central nodes or global hubs support a balanced development in Europe, increasing the accessibility of European regions.

Main tourist areas show quite good accessibility by air. Cheaper flights from Northern Europe to Mediterranean regions reinforced the strong touristic sector in this area. The map shows a potential for regions along the Black and Adriatic Sea to increase their number of scheduled flights and enhance the touristic sector in this area.

Policy context

The Common Transport Policy aims at developing competitive modes of transport helping to reduce the peripheral nature of regions as well as the development of lagging regions with poor endowments of transport networks and high transport costs. This policy aims at a core European network connecting 94 main ports to rail and road links, 38 key airports with rail connections, 15.000 km of railway lines upgraded to high speed and 35 cross-border projects to reduce bottlenecks. The number of destinations per European airport illustrates key hubs in the network as well as important peripheral regions that are made accessible through their regional airports.

The 2011 European White Paper on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area stresses that a lot needs to be done to complete the internal market for transport where considerable bottlenecks and other barriers remain. Improving the air accessibility of peripheral regions is one of the challenges that are also addressed in the Territorial Agenda 2020.

Map interpretation

The map presents the number of destinations served per airport. This illustrates the regional accessibility by air. Airports of capitals and in the European core serve the most destinations. This includes also EuropeÔÇÖs major hubs as London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam which serve domestic, continental and intercontinental flights. Also touristic destinations in the Mediterranean can be distinguished in the map as being connected to a relatively large number of other airports.

Besides these major airports the map shows a large number of smaller regional airports in red and orange. These airports are especially important in sparsely populated areas, where there is a large distance between cities. As the map shows, there are relatively more airports in the Nordic countries that serve 1-10 destinations.

Regional airports also play a vital role in countries where there are considerable transport barriers e.g. in parts of Greece where the sea forms a transport barriers.

Airports with scheduled flights are less present in Eastern European countries. However, large improvements in accessibility by air in Eastern Europe regions have taken place as many smaller airports have been developed outside the capital region, as noted in the sixth Cohesion Report. The connections from and to the airports are an important factor in this development. The airports as well as their customers can reach a larger market area due to better regional accessibility. This regional accessibility can be further improved by interconnections between different modes of transport, i.e. air, road and/or rail connections.

Concepts and methods

The map illustrates stocktaking of all European airports by number of destinations served. The number of destinations entails domestic passenger flights, continental flights and intercontinental flights.


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