London Heathrow tops the charts for air passenger traffic
London Heathrow topped the charts for passenger traffic among European airports in 2014 - carrying almost 73.5 million passengers - Eurostat figures show.
Heathrow led the way in a year where global passenger traffic rose 5.9pc compared to 2013, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Dublin Airport came 18th in Europe, carrying 21.7 million passengers, Eurostat said.
After Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle carried the most passengers, followed by Frankfurt and Amsterdam Schiphol.
The IATA said that global traffic performance was above the 10-year average growth rate of 5.6pc and the 5.2pc annual growth experienced in 2013.
European carriers' international traffic climbed 5.7pc in 2014, with capacity up 5.2pc and load factor - the extent to which a plane is full - rising 0.6 percentage points to 81.6pc.
"Robust travel on low-fare airlines as well as airlines registered in Turkey offset economic weakness and risks in the region," the IATA said.
Eurostat - the European Union's official statistics body - said that for 2014, all 28 Member States and all reporting countries who weren't members of the EU showed an increase in passenger volumes compared with 2013. "Particularly remarkable is the growth observed for Greece (16pc) and Luxembourg (12pc) as well as Portugal and Poland (10pc).
At the other end of the scale, a minor increase was observed in passenger transport for Latvia (0.4pc)".
In 2014, transport between EU countries represented more than 44pc of all passengers carried in the bloc, followed by transport outside the EU at 38pc and intra-country transport at 18pc.
All months of 2014 showed increases compared to 2013, the largest rise taking place in April - an increase of 6.9pc year on year.
With the exception of Warsaw Chopina, each of the top 30 airports showed an increase in 2014. Athens, where passenger traffic rose by a fifth, registered the highest rise among large airports, followed by Brussels at 14pc. In Warsaw, passenger transport decreased by 3pc in the first three quarters of 2014 compared with 2013.
Globally capacity rose 5.6pc last year, sparking a rise in load factors of 0.2 percentage points to 79.7pc. All regions saw demand grow in 2014, with more than half of the growth in passenger travel occurred on airlines in emerging markets including Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Towards the end of the year domestic market growth played a large role in driving growth. That was due mainly to a pick-up in Chinese domestic travel which expanded by some 11pc in 2014 over the previous year.
"Overall a record 3.3 billion passengers boarded aircraft last year - some 170 million more than in 2013.
"While it is clear that people will continue to travel in growing numbers, there have been signs in recent months that softening business confidence is translating into a levelling off of international travel demand," said Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and chief executive, when the 2014 figures were released.
But this year the figures have remained strong. The most recent IATA figures - for August - show "a continuation of the strong growth in air travel demand for both domestic and international traffic. Although the global economic outlook is decidedly mixed, demand for aviation connectivity remains strong," Mr Tyler said.