Press Releases

Moderate gains in passenger traffic in February; accelerated growth in air freight volumes affected by the timing of Chinese New Year

Montréal, 18 April 2017   – Global passenger traffic increased 3.5% in February which was below the past 12-month growth trend of 5.3%. February year-over-year traffic growth was distorted by the timing of the Chinese New Year that fell in January as opposed to February last year, and the fact that 2016 was also a leap year. The world’s airports reported a rise of 5.7% in international passenger traffic and 1.9% in domestic traffic. Accumulated total passenger traffic growth for January and February was 5.6% year-over-year.

At the regional level, the Middle East led passenger traffic growth with a robust 8.3% year-over-year increase in February, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific which reported growth of 5.5% and 5.1% respectively. Europe’s higher growth rate was the result of the strengthening of several economies in the region and the continued expansion of the low cost carrier business model. Due mainly to a weak domestic market in February, North America and Latin America-Caribbean inched up their respective passenger traffic by 0.7% and 0.5%. Africa was the only region that witnessed a decline of 1.9% in passenger traffic, attributed to the ongoing weakness in the region’s biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as ongoing security concerns in Egypt.

Air freight volumes surged 7.8% as compared to the previous year at the global level. International freight posted a greater growth rate than domestic freight at 9.6% and 3.1% respectively. Much of the rise is attributed to the timing of the Chinese New Year. As a result, Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai-Pudong (PVG), Seoul-Incheon (ICN) and Tokyo-Narita (NRT) reported traffic gains of 14.1%, 20.8%, 17% and 11.9% respectively. Based on the global sample of airports, 17 of the top 20 airports in terms of air freight volumes experienced year-over-year growth for February, including Miami (MIA, 7.8%), Frankfurt (FRA, 2.2%), Doha (DOH, 24.5%), Los Angeles (LAX, 8%) and Amsterdam (AMS, 7%). 

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 Organisation. 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 2017, ACI serves 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 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

Media contact
Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1223
Anita Berthier
Manager, External Relations and Special Events 
ACI World 
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254 
 Charts and tables

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