Air transport infrastructure, transport equipment, enterprises, employment and accidents

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development
1.5. Contact mail address 5, Rue Alphonse Weicker L- 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG G-D

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 01/03/2013
2.2. Metadata last posted 25/03/2013
2.3. Metadata last update 20/01/2014

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Questionnaire on Air Transport Statistics is aimed to collect aggregated annual data on the air transport sector for the following domains:

I. Infrastructure (covering commercial airports only) (status at 31/12)

II. Transport equipment (covering commercial aircrafts only) (status at 31/12)

III. Enterprises, economic performance and employment (status at 31/12)

IV. Accidents (annual data)

Data are collected and disseminated at country level or at airport level for major European airports.

The questionnaire is not supported by any legal acts and it is based on a gentlemen's agreement with the participating countries (Member States, Candidate Countries and EFTA countries). It is usually prefilled by Eurostat using its own sources as well as other ones (e.g. Airclaims or EASA) and sent to the countries for completion and validation. The completeness varies from country to country.

Please note that information concerning data collected in the frame of the Air Transport Statistics Regulation can be found in the metadata documentation provided for this domain (Air Transport Measurement).

The section on "Infrastructure" contains three tables:

  • Number of main airports (with more than 150 000 passenger movements per year) and other airports with more than 15,000 passenger movements per year) at country level
  • Airport infrastructures by type at airport level
  • Airport connections to other modes of transport at airport level.

The section on "Transport Equipment" contains two tables:

  • Commercial aircraft fleet by type of aircraft at country level
  • Commercial aircraft fleet by age of aircraft at country level

The section on "Enterprises economic performance and employment" contains three tables:

  • Number of aviation and airport enterprises at country level
  • Employment in aviation and airport enterprises by gender at country level
  • Employment in main airports by gender at airport level

The section on "Accidents" contains two tables:

  • Number of injury accidents at country level

Number of fatalities in injury accidents at country level

3.2. Classification system

Airports are classified according to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) airport coded as listed in ICAO document 7910.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The majority of the definitions are based on the Glossary for transport statistics 4th edition.


Airport – a defined area of land or water (including any buildings, installations and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and surface movement of aircraft and open for commercial air transport operations.

The airports included in this domain are those reporting more than 15 000 passenger movements per year. Main airports are those reporting more than 150 000 passenger movements per year.

Airport runways – a defined rectangular area on an airport prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft with the following characteristics:

  • Take-off run available – the length of runway declared available and suitable for the ground run of an aircraft taking off.
  • Landing distance available – the length of runway which is declared available and suitable for the ground run of an aircraft landing.

Check-in Facilities

  • Conventional – a conventional check-in facility where airline staff handle ticket processing, luggage labelling, including fast bag drops, and issue of boarding cards directly;
  • Self service check-in kiosks – a kiosk providing check-in facilities and offering automatic ticket processing, boarding cards and, in some cases, luggage label printing.

Passenger gates – an area of a passenger terminal where passengers gather prior to boarding their aircraft. The gates can be:

  • With finger bridges (jetbridges or jetways) – a gate with a finger bridge connecting to the aircraft to allow boarding without descending to ground level and using steps to board.
  • Other – gates other than those with finger bridges.

Airport car parking – parking facilities provided at the airport.

  • Short stay – parking where the maximum permitted duration of stay is less than 24 hours.
  • Medium and long stay (long term) – parking where the maximum permitted duration of stay is 24 hours or more.

For remote parking facilities, only those served by airport buses should be included.

Connections to other modes of transport – facilities provided within the airport for connection to the following modes of surface transport.

  • High speed rail – access to high speed rail services
  • Main line rail – access to main line rail services
  • Metro – access to city metro and underground services
  • Inter urban bus services – access to express and inter urban coach services
  • City bus services – access to local bus services

Intermodal freight facilities – a freight terminal within the airport with connections to modes other than road on its landside. The information which is provided is the area of the terminal (in square metres).


Aircraft – any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air other than the reactions of air against the earth’s surface.

Dirigibles and surface effect vehicles such as hovercraft are excluded. ICAO provides aircraft type designators in ICAO Document 8643. In addition, ICAO and the Commercial Aviation Safety team (CAST) have jointly developed a new taxonomy to correctly identify aircraft. Details are available on the following website:

Aircraft by configuration

  • Passenger aircraft – an aircraft configured for the transport of passengers and their baggage. Any freight, including mail, is generally carried in cargo holds in the belly of the aircraft.

The data available in the dissemination tables are divided by aircraft type broken down by classes based on the aircraft configuration in terms of number of seats available.

  • Cargo aircraft – an aircraft configured solely for the carriage of freight and/or mail. Persons accompanying certain kinds of cargo, such as livestock, may also be carried.
  • Combi aircraft – a passenger aircraft with enhanced capabilities for the carriage of freight on the passenger deck.
  • Quick change aircraft – an aircraft designed to allow a quick change of configuration from passenger to cargo and vice versa.
  • Other – other aircraft used for commercial air transport.

Aircraft age – years since first registration of an aircraft.

The data are broken down according to the following age classes: 0–4 years; 5–9 years; 10–14 years; 15–19 years; More than 20 years.


Air transport enterprise – any enterprise providing services linked to the transport of passengers and goods by air. Included are the following:

  • Airline (Commercial air transport operator) – an aviation enterprise operating aircraft for commercial purposes which (i) performs scheduled or non-scheduled air transport services, or both, which are available to the public for carriage of passengers, mail, and /or cargo and (ii) is certified for such purposes by the civil aviation authority of the state in which it is established.
  • Airport operator – an air transport undertaking operating a commercial airport.
  • Air traffic control provider – an air transport undertaking providing air traffic control services.
  • Airport services provider – an undertaking providing airport services such as aircraft ground handling, fuelling, maintenance and security, passenger services such as check in, baggage handling, cargo handling and other services.


Employment is the number of persons employed, i.e. the total number of persons who work in the enterprise (inclusive of working proprietors, partners working regularly in the enterprise and unpaid family workers), as well as persons who work outside the enterprise who belong to it and are paid by it (e.g. sales representatives, delivery personnel, repair and maintenance teams). It includes persons absent for a short period (e.g. sick leave, paid leave or special leave), and also those on strike, but not those absent for an indefinite period. It also includes part-time workers who are regarded as such under the laws of the country concerned and who are on the pay-roll, as well as seasonal workers, apprentices and home workers on the pay-roll.

The number of persons employed excludes manpower supplied to the enterprise by other enterprises, persons carrying out repair and maintenance work in the enquiry enterprise on behalf of other enterprises, as well as those on compulsory military service. On the other hand, persons who are at the disposal of an enterprise for commercial reasons on the basis of a long term contract (i.e. demonstrators in department stores) should be included as employees of the enterprise where they work rather than in the enterprise with which they have their employment contract.

Types of employment

  • General administration – includes central and regional management staff (e.g. finance, legal, personnel etc.) and boards of directors.

The management staff of specialist departments (operations and traffic, aircraft, air traffic control, runway and terminal construction and maintenance, emergency services) are excluded but are taken into account in the statistics specific to each of these services.

  • Operations and traffic – cabin and ground crews (excluding flight deck staff) and associated central and regional offices. Includes tourism, advertising and terminal operations.
  • Aircraft – flight deck staff, maintenance and inspection staff and associated central and regional offices.
  • Airports – air traffic control staff, terminals, runway and other airport facilities construction, maintenance and supervision staff, ground handling staff, emergency services staff.
  • Other operations – passenger and freight services, freight shipment services etc.


Accident – an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which one of the following applies:

a) A person is fatally or seriously injured.

Where this is as a result of being in the aircraft, or direct contact with any part of the aircraft, including parts which have become detached from the aircraft, or direct exposure to jet blast, except when the injuries are from natural causes, self-inflicted or inflicted by other persons, or when the injuries are to stowaways hiding outside the areas normally available to the passengers and crew.

b) The aircraft sustains damage or structural failure.

Where this adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft, and would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component, except for engine failure or damage. When the damage is limited to the engine, its cowlings or accessories: or for damage limited to propellers, wing tips, antennas, tires, brakes, fairings, small dents or puncture holes in the aircraft skin.

c) The aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible.

An aircraft is considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located.

Fatal injury – an injury resulting in death within thirty days of the date of the accident is classified as a fatal injury.

Accident on national territory – an accident on the national territory of a state.

An accident on a nationally registered aircraft – an accident involving an aircraft on the national aircraft register of a state.

3.5. Statistical unit

The data used in the domain are collected at airport or country level.

Each year and for each reporting country, Eurostat pre-fills the questionnaire using its own data and other reliable data sources (EASA, Airclaims): the questionnaire is sent to the countries for completion and validation. Only data validated by the reporting countries are disseminated (NB: the number of airports is always disseminated, as it is derived from Eurostat data collected in the frame of a legal basis).

3.6. Statistical population

For data at country level, the airports covered are those registering at least 15 000 passenger units per year.

For data at airport level, the airports covered are the “main airports” of each country, that is to say airports with at least 150 000 passenger units per year.

3.7. Reference area

The data cover the EU Member States, the Candidate Countries as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland.

3.8. Coverage - Time

From 2001 until the last reported year

3.9. Base period
Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

The units used depend on the elements collected.

For the data collected at national level, the units are: number of airports, number of aircraft, number of enterprises, number of employees (by gender), number of injury accidents and number of fatalities in injury accidents.

For the data collected at airport level, the units are: number of runways, the number of check-in facilities, number of aircraft gates, number of parking places for private cars, number of connections to other modes of transport, intermodal freight area in square metres and number of employees.

5. Reference Period Top

The data transmitted through the questionnaires are annual figures.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The questionnaire is not supported by any legal act and it is based on a gentlemen's agreement with the participating countries.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

No confidential data are provided.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is not a release calendar for dissemination of data but annual figures related to reference year Y-2 are released in spring each year Y.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release


10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Only dissemination on the Eurostat's website database

  • Database by themes - Transport/Air transport (avia) - Air transport infrastructure (avia_if)
  • Database by themes - Transport/Air transport (avia) - Air transport - Enterprises, economic performances and employment (avia_ec)
  • Database by themes - Transport/Air transport (avia) - Air transport - Accidents (avia_ac)
10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Internet address:

11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

The Glossary on Air Transport Statistics is the main methodological source for the definitions used in this data collection (see attachment).

The structure of the questionnaire on air transport statistics is available as an attachement.

11.2. Quality management - documentation

The number of airports available in the questionnaires is prefilled/cross-checked with the data available from Regulation (EC) 437/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air as well as the subsequent implementing Commission Regulations 1358/2003, 546/2005 and 158/2007.

Therefore, the quality of such data is ensured, and is systematically disseminated. In order to obtain the highest level of data quality, the following data sources are used by Eurostat for the pre-filling of the questionnaire:

National level

Infrastructure : number of airports:

Eurostat (list of airports reporting data)

Equipment: national fleet




 Airport level

Websites specialised in air transport statistics; Airports' web sites

Once pre-filled, the questionnaires are checked and completed by the reporting countries. Only data validated by the reporting countries are made available online.

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

Common definitions and harmonized methodology ensures quality of data.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

Data quality is acceptable. Comparison with other existing sources provides good results.

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

This data collection tries to response partially to user needs of more data about the airports and the air transport industry in the countries.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There is not information about the level of satisfaction of the users with this data dissemination because this has been implemented from last year only.

13.3. Completeness

Only about half of the Member States provide information on the questions raised on the questionnaire. The most complete part of the data refers normally to airport infrastructure and aircraft fleet.

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

Overall accuracy of the data provided is good.

14.2. Sampling error

Not applicable

14.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

Data is released about 16 months after the reference period. This means that the annual data for year X is disseminated in April, year X+2.

15.2. Punctuality

The annual questionnaires of year X are sent in November of year X+1. The deadline for delivery is fixed normally in February year X+2. The countries responding to this voluntary questionnaire normally respect the deadline.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

Data comparability across countries is high. This is ensured by the implementation of a common methodology and definitions and the relative simplicity of the information requested

16.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over the time is also high. The present methodological approach has been maintained for several years now.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

This voluntary data collection allows to complement the regulatory data collection of air transport statistics providing additional useful data at airport level, on aircraft fleet and accidents.

17.2. Coherence - internal

The internal consistency of this data collection can be partially checked when calculating aggregates at country level. The coherence of individual information provided for the airports can be only checked by relating the amount of passengers handled with the data on infrastructure, personnel, etc.

18. Cost and Burden Top

This is a voluntary data collection exercise and no evaluation of the cost/burden has taken place. However, in order to minimise the burden for the respondents, the questionnaires are delivered to them pre-filled with available information obtained from different quality sources. So, the countries have only to confirm or modify the pre-filled data.

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

Revisions of passed data are taken into account and processed when provided by the national competent authorities.

19.2. Data revision - practice

No major changes on the methodology are expected

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

Original data sources are normally the airports organisations or enterprises as well as international organisations of the air transport sector.

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Data are collected annually through an Excel questionnaire.

20.3. Data collection

The reporting countries send the data to Eurostat via email using the Excel questionnaire.

20.4. Data validation

Automatic validation during the data integration takes place. A consistency analysis over time takes place after data integration

20.5. Data compilation

No calculations/aggregations are performed on the data available from the questionnaires, which are disseminated as collected.

20.6. Adjustment
Not applicable

21. Comment Top

Not applicable

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top