Robust passenger traffic gains amidst economic and political uncertainty; air freight volumes surged in September – Nov 21, 2016
|Montreal, 21 November 2016 – After the slowing down of growth in August, global airport passenger traffic increased 6.3% in September 2016. International passenger traffic grew faster than the domestic segment for the same period (+6.9% versus +5.9% respectively). Total passenger traffic grew 5.6% for the first nine months of 2016 as compared to the previous year.|
Global air freight traffic grew 5.9% in September, with international freight exceeding domestic freight growth (+7.0% versus +3.3% respectively). Accumulated air freight volumes inched up 1.8% since the beginning of the year.
Fuelled by lower fares and strong international traffic, all regions experienced increases in passenger traffic in September, with the sole exception of the African region. The highest growth rates were observed in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific (+11.9% and +9.8% respectively), followed by North America, Europe and Latin America-Caribbean (+5.6%, +4.9% and +2.6% respectively). On the other hand, Africa reported a drop in traffic of 0.9%. International passenger traffic continued to grow at high rates in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions (+12.0% and 11.3% respectively). Both Latin America-Caribbean (+7.7%) and North America (7.5%) showed strong growth in international traffic for the month. Europe grew 4.9% for the same period and only Africa lagged behind with a 1.0% loss in international passenger traffic.
Passenger traffic losses in Africa continued to persist due to the economic weakness in Northern States and major oil exporters. Egypt and Nigeria experienced declines in total passenger traffic of 20.6% and 17.3% respectively in September, the result of security concerns in the major tourist markets and the economic downturn of the region. Passenger traffic gains in South Africa (+5.7%), Morocco (+5.3%) and Tunisia (+46.9%) were not enough to offset the region’s passenger traffic losses.
In Asia-Pacific, almost all major aviation markets demonstrated robust growth in passenger traffic. China, India, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia grew 9.2%, 20.7%, 15.2%, 15.1% and 13.3% respectively. The other major players in the region—Japan, Australia and Indonesia—also demonstrated growth of 3.0%, 5.5% and 6.5% respectively. At the airport level, the highest growth was observed at Delhi (DEL, +24.1% or +890,000 passengers), Seoul-Incheon (ICN, +20.0% or +790,000 passengers) and Beijing (PEK, +8.5% or + 637,000 passengers). Significant growth was also observed at Kuala Lumpur (KUL, +15.4% or +591,000 passengers), Guangzhou (CAN, +11.6% or +519,000 passengers) and Shanghai-Pudong (PVG, +9.8% or +495,000 passengers).
In Europe, Spain (+10.4%) approached the passenger traffic level of the key aviation market of the region— the United Kingdom—which grew 5.9% during the same month. Major commercial airports in Germany, Italy and France grew 5.2%, 3.8% and 1.6% respectively. Turkey lost 10.0% of its passenger traffic while the Russian Federation observed a flat growth (+0.6%). At the airport level, significant growth was observed at Amsterdam (AMS, +7.4% or +407,000 passengers), Barcelona (BCN, +9.8% or +387,000 passengers) and Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF, +44.4% or +348,000 passengers). Antalya (AYT, -33.1%) in Turkey lost more than 1,212,000 passengers for the same period due to security concerns.
Brazil—the largest aviation market in Latin America and the Caribbean—lost 7.6% of its traffic on a year-over-year basis, which testified to the sharp contraction of the national economy. Mexico (+14.3%) and Colombia (+5.1%) remained the two strong and stable sources of passenger traffic growth in the region. Substantial growth was also observed in Chile (+11.2%), Peru (+8.0%) and Panama (+17.3%). At the individual airport level, the highest growth was observed at Mexico City (MEX, +10.0% or +300,000 passengers), Panama City (PTY, +17.3% or + 176,000 passengers) and Santiago (SCL, +11.7% or +161,000 passengers).
In the Middle East, all major aviation markets demonstrated robust growth. Passenger traffic in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar grew 9.7% and 22.6% respectively. Dubai (DXB) kept momentum and the status of the fastest-growing airport in absolute terms in the region (+10.3% or +662,000 passengers), followed closely by Doha (DOH, +22.6% or +608,000 passengers).
The two aviation markets of North America—the United States and Canada—grew 5.3% and 8.8% respectively in terms of total passenger traffic. Notable growth was observed at Denver (DEN, +12.8% or +579,000 passengers), Los Angeles (LAX, +9.6% or +576,000 passengers) and Toronto-Pearson (YYZ, +12.4% or +431,000). Philadelphia (PHL) lost 4.7% of its traffic (-123,000 passengers) as compared to the previous year.
Air freight traffic:
For the second consecutive month, air freight markets witnessed a strong growth of 5.9% for September mainly due to a strengthening of the international freight market (+7.0%) and the surge in demand for electronic devices coming out of Asia. Domestic freight volumes grew 3.3% during the same period. Accumulated air freight volumes inched up 1.8% since the beginning of the year.
Similar to passenger traffic, all regions observed gains in air freight traffic for the month of September except Africa that recorded a loss of 4.2%. Europe had the highest growth (+7.6%) followed by Asia-Pacific and North America with robust increases of 6.7% and 5.5% respectively. Both regions of Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East experienced 3.1% growth in air freight traffic. Out of the top 20 air freight hubs, 15 airports reported growth rates of over 5.0% and only two experienced slight losses. Because air freight is highly concentrated, with the top 20 air freight hubs occupying almost half of global air freight volumes, the strong growth among the major airports increased the global growth figure. While the increase in volumes is cause for optimism, it is still too early to identify a sustained recovery.
In Africa, significant air freight losses were recorded at major commercial airports in Kenya (-10.6% or -2,460 tonnes) and South Africa (-7.9% or -2,310 tonnes). The two major air freight hubs of the region—Nairobi (NBO) and Johannesburg (JNB)—lost 7.7% (-1,630 tonnes) and 10.3% (-2,830 tonnes) of air freight volumes year-over-year. Cairo (CAI) is recovering with 6.0% growth in air freight volumes as compared to the previous year (+1,270 tonnes).
In the Asia-Pacific region, India, Korea and China were the main contributors to September’s growth (9.3%, 7.2% and 6.7% respectively). The top three airports with the highest volume increases were Hong-Kong (HKG, +7.2% or +26,000 tonnes), Shanghai- Pudong (PVG, +7.4% or +20,000 tonnes) and Seoul-Incheon (ICN, +8.1% or +17,000 tonnes). The surge in volumes coincided with the release and replacement of mobile devices such as the Galaxy Note 7 and iPhone 7.
In Europe, all major freight hubs showed an increase in air freight activity. Germany, France and the United Kingdom—the three largest air freight markets in the region—witnessed 6.6%, 5.1% and 6.7% growth respectively for the month of September. However, the main drivers for the high regional freight movement were the double-digit growth rates observed at major commercial airports in Turkey, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Russian Federation and Switzerland (19.0%, 10.8%, 13.5%, 14.1%, 20.9% and 14.2% respectively). Istanbul-Atatürk (IST) posted the strongest air freight volume growth of 11,500 tonnes (+17.7%), followed by Sheremetyevo (SVO, +129.5% or +10,000 tonnes) that had been recovering from extremely low freight activity. Significant growth was also observed at Frankfurt (FRA, +6.2% or +10,000 tonnes), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG, +5.2% or +8,600 tonnes) and Luxembourg (LUX, +14.1% or +8,300 tonnes).
The three largest air freight markets of the region—Colombia, Mexico and Brazil—showed mixed results in the month of September. While Colombia plunged into the negative territory at -0.7% (-550 tonnes), Mexico grew by a strong 10.8% rate (+6,640 tonnes) and Brazil started to show signs of recovery (-2.4% or + 1,500 tonnes) at its major commercial airports. At the individual airport level, the highest growth in absolute terms was registered at Mexico City (MEX, +12.8% or +4,650 tonnes) and Santiago (SCL, +13.8% or + 3,190 tonnes).
The two dynamic air freight markets of the region—United Arab Emirates and Qatar—reported mixed results. While six commercial airports in the UAE reported a loss of 2.7% (-9,970 tonnes) in air freight volumes as compared to the previous year, Doha (DOH) grew 16.3% (+20,360 tonnes). Strong growth was also recorded in Israel (+24.8% or + 5,130 tonnes) and Oman (+19.8% or +2,165 tonnes).
The major drivers of North American traffic were Chicago-O’Hare (ORD, +16.0% or +22,500 tonnes), Anchorage (ANC, +5.6% or +11,700 tonnes) and Los Angeles (LAX, +5.9% or +9,000 tonnes). Memphis (MEM, -0.8% or -3,070 tonnes) and Louisville (SDF, +4.6% or +8,930 tonnes) showed mixed results.
|Notes for editors|
|1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2016, ACI serves 592 members operating 1,853 airports in 173 countries. |
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 following pages.
4. Download the PDF version of this Media Release.
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