Press Releases

Passenger Traffic Grows by 4% in 2012 as Growth in Air Freight Remains Flat

Montréal, Québec, Canada, 07 February 2013 – Preliminary results point to an overall increase of +3.9% in global passenger traffic in 2012 as compared to the previous year. While the world’s top international airports in North America and Europe posted more modest gains in passenger traffic, air transport markets in emerging economies continue to show buoyant activity. Double digit growth rates in passenger traffic were observed in Istanbul (IST; +20.2%), Jakarta (CGK; +14.4%), Dubai (DXB; +13.2%) and Bangkok (BKK; +10.6%) in 2012. Moderate growth of +2.5% was observed in December of 2012 as domestic passenger markets recoiled in Europe, Latin America, Africa and North America. Conversely, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific persistently post strong gains in international passenger traffic with growth of +12.3% and +9.0% respectively for the month of December.

An overall decline of -1.3% was registered in air freight for the month of December. Europe, Latin America-Caribbean, North America and Asia-Pacific experienced declines of -2.7%, -2.6%, -1.5% and -1.2% respectively. While the world’s top air freight hubs, Hong Kong (HKG) and Memphis (MEM), achieved growth of +2.2% and +2.5% respectively, 57% of the top thirty airports in terms of air freight volume were in decline in 2012.

ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, “Although we saw slightly lower year-over-year growth rates in passenger traffic in 2012 from month to month as compared to 2011, the overall result for the year was in line with ACI forecasts, which factored in the slowdown in certain European and North American markets. Air freight had mixed results throughout 2012 with some months posting modest gains while other months posted declines. Amid the significant downside risks in the Euro area and the fiscal deadlock in the United States throughout the year, growth in air freight came to an overall halt in 2012. As the global economy and international trade picks up steam we are optimistic to see higher growth rates for both passenger and freight traffic in 2013.”

December 2012
over December 2011
Year to Date
 Rolling Year
International passenger
Domestic passenger
Total passenger
International freight
Domestic freight
Total freight


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Notes for editors

1. Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide association of airports, has 573 member airport authorities, which operate over 1,751 airports in 174 countries. ACI’s mission is to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations, and this mandate is carried out through the organization’s multiple training opportunities, as well as the customer service benchmarking programme, a wide range of conferences, industry statistical products and best practice publications.

2. PaxFlash and FreightFlash statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60% of total passenger traffic and 70% of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.

3. Regional results and trend graphics are provided on the full downloadable document.

4. For further information, contact Cheryl Marcell