Malta was among the EU countries which registered the highest increases in air passengers, according to statistics agency Eurostat.
The highest increases were registered in Slovenia (+20 per cent), Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria and Czechia (all +19 per cent), Romania, Croatia and Malta (all +18 per cent), ahead of Poland and Portugal (both +17 per cent).
In 2017, 1.043 billion passengers travelled by air in the European Union (EU), up by 7 per cent compared with 2016 and by 39 per cent compared with 2009. Over this period, air passenger transport has steadily risen in the EU.
In 2017, intra-EU transport represented almost half (47 per cent) of total air passenger transport in the EU and extra-EU transport over a third (36 per cent), while national transport accounted for fewer than 1 in every 5 passengers (17 per cent).
In 2017, the largest number of air passengers was recorded in the United Kingdom (265 million passengers), followed by Germany (212 million), Spain (210 million), France (154 million) and Italy (144 million). The number of air passengers carried in 2017 rose in all EU Member States compared with 2016.
Overall in the EU, the number of air passengers rose by 70.5 million (+7 per cent) between 2016 and 2017, driven by the rise in extra-EU (+9 per cent) and intra-EU transport (+7 per cent).