Moderate growth in passenger traffic as air freight continues revival in March
Montréal, 09 May 2014 – Global passenger traffic grew modestly by 2.4% for the month of March, which is slightly below the 12-month average of over 4%. International passenger traffic contributed to the slowing growth since the increase in passengers was more subdued at 1.8% for the month. The only region to post strong gains was the Middle East, where growth reached 6.2% year over year. The region as a whole leads all other regions in the first quarter of 2014 in terms of growth, reaching an 8.6% increase in passenger traffic for the first three months. Dubai (DXB) is ranked as the third-busiest airport for the first quarter of 2014 with growth of 11.4% year over year.
Domestic passenger markets performed a bit better than the international market, achieving growth of 2.9% overall on the month. Although the world’s largest domestic market, North America, grew only slightly for March (1.6%), European domestic passenger traffic showed a strong recovery with growth of 6.2%. Latin America-Caribbean also experienced robust growth of 7.1% in domestic passenger traffic brought on primarily by the Carnival season in the Brazilian market.
After three sluggish years in freight traffic growth, global air freight markets resurged in the first quarter of 2014. Growth in air freight volumes rose by 3.2% in the first quarter and by 3.9% for the month of March. The resurgence is largely attributable to strong growth at many Asia-Pacific airports in the first three months of 2014. Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (PVG) and Incheon (ICN) achieved robust growth of 5.6%, 6.9% and 6.1% respectively. European airports also contributed to the first quarter recovery, growing by 5% as compared to the first quarter in 2013.
“The recent revival in the air freight market is a direct by-product of the improvements in world trade and the recovery in advanced economies,” said ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. “Despite the fact that many Asian airports have performed well with respect to air freight in the first quarter, the downside risks and relative weakness in the Chinese economy continues to persist. March is also a distorted month because of the spillover effects from the Chinese New Year earlier in the year. Thus, the outlook for air freight in the short term should be viewed with cautious optimism.”
“Notwithstanding the recent short run slowdown in passenger traffic, ACI continues to be upbeat with respect to the opportunities and growth in key emerging markets,” Echevarne added. “Many airports in Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as South-East Asia, continue to post strong growth rates in the first quarter and over a twelve-month period.”
Notes for Editors
1. Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide association of airports, has 591 member airport authorities, which operate 1,861 airports in 177 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 below.
4. For the PDF download of this media release, please click here.