Athens International Airport (AIA) announced a strong 22.9% y-o-y increase in total passenger traffic in Sept’14 (vs 22.7% in Aug) to 1.6m (domestic +25.8% and international +21.5%).
Foreign visitors travelling to Athens rose by 24% while the Greek travelers showed an impressive growth of 26%. In the Jan-Sept’14 period, total traffic in AIA was up 19.4% y-o-y to 11.67m (up 22.6% in Q3’14 vs 22.6% in Q2’14 and 8.4% in Q1’14), with domestic +18%, international +20%, foreign Athens visitors +20%, and Greek air travelers +18% (driven by the 17% growth in Apr-Aug’14).
9M’14 traffic exceeded prior year levels by 1.9m, largely due to the stabilizing economy, growing city attractiveness and significant increases in offered capacity by the airlines, esp. during their summer flight schedules.
Overall, strong traffic data for AIA (which has been recovering from the 23% cumulative decline during the crisis i.e. in 2009-13) has a positive read-across for Aegean Airlines and provide larger visibility to our recently upgraded 2014e forecasts, which call for a 17% y-o-y increase in scheduled services RPKs, a 9% growth in scheduled revenues and a 34% y-o-y increase in EPS.