Robust growth in air transport demand for first quarter of 2015
Montréal, 11 May 2015 – According to the latest statistics from Airports Council International (ACI) World, global passenger traffic increased by over 6% for the first quarter of 2015 and by 7% for the month of March as compared to the previous year. International passenger traffic grew by 6.8% year-over-year whereas domestic traffic grew by 5.7% for the period from January to March 2015.
While all regions reported gains in passenger traffic, most of the buoyant activity stemmed from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, with respective gains of 11.1% and 10% in passenger traffic for the month of March. Many of the busiest airports in the Asia-Pacific region posted double-digit growth for the first quarter. Shanghai (PVG), Incheon (ICN), Bangkok (BKK) and New Delhi (DEL) increased by 17.7%, 15.6%, 14.8% and 13% respectively. Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Doha (DOH), two of the fastest growing airports in the Middle East, grew by 21.1% and 16.8% respectively. Much of the growth, particularly with respect to the Asia-Pacific region, stems from the remnants of leisure travel during the February Lunar New Year.
Air freight experienced more modest growth as volumes increased by 1.4% for the month of March, although the first quarter saw an overall increase of 4.7% year over year.
The slowed growth in March comes after the upsurge in February due to the Lunar New Year and the modal shift towards air transport resulting from congestion at sea ports along the western coast of the United States. Growth rates across the globe were mixed for the month of March. Although North America has maintained a solid growth rate of 5.7% year over year in March, results were mixed at the sub-regional level. Memphis (MEM) and Louisville (SDF), two of North America’s largest air freight hubs, were in decline by 2% and 0.4% respectively, while West coast and Midwest airports posted solid gains. Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Anchorage (ANC) had huge jumps of 32.9%, 14.5% and 12.8% respectively for the month of March. Both Asia-Pacific and Europe saw a decline of 1.4% and 1.9% respectively. Hong Kong (HKG), the world’s largest air freight hub, declined by 8.2% in March.
ACI World Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented: “The first quarter was largely distorted by external shocks which affected demand. In spite of these distortions, we still witness overall solid growth in both passenger and air freight traffic over the period. After removing all of the noise, we have yet to see the impact that the global business cycle will have on air transport demand. There are two forces at play that are working in opposite directions. On the one hand, we see improved economic conditions in the United States. On the other hand, with a Chinese slowdown and the continued uncertainty in Europe, the net effect on air transport remains to be seen.”
Notes for editors