Press Releases

Surge in freight volumes moderates in September; global passenger traffic continues to rise in spite of gulf coast hurricanes and blockade in Qatar


Montreal, 24 November 2017 – The global surge affecting freight volumes receded in September 2017, with year over year figures falling to 6.8%, down from 10.5% in August of the same year. Passenger traffic also slowed down slightly, dropping 1.6 percentage points from August to 5.1%. Following a particularly good summer period, year to date numbers for both markets remained high, at 8.4% and 6.5% respectively.

Passenger traffic:

Europe’s sustained growth in passenger traffic continued through the third quarter of 2017, seemingly unaffected by the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The region’s year over year growth reached 8.9% in September, nearly double the global rate and closely tracking its 9.3% year to date growth. Asia-Pacific and Africa also benefitted from robust numbers, reaching 7.3% and 6.6% respectively on a year over year basis. Latin America-Caribbean achieved moderate growth of 3.2%. The Middle East and North America trailed behind, with declines of 0.8% and 1.5% respectively.

Airports in the Caribbean region and North America were affected by the year’s particularly violent hurricane season, with airports located in Puerto Rico (SJU) and Miami (MIA) posting significant declines (-34.4% and -21.9% respectively) on a year over year basis. September year to date figures for both Latin America-Caribbean and North America remained positive, though lower than other regions, with respective 4.5% and 3.1% growth rates.

The continuing blockade against Qatar also had a considerable impact in September, with Doha (DOH) passenger traffic declining by 18.3% on a year over year basis, more than 5 percentage points lower than August. The September decline pushed the airport’s year to date figures to negative territory, reaching -1.6%.

Freight volumes:

Most regions posted robust freight volume figures in September, despite a slowdown from the previous month’s double-digit growth. Africa led the group with a growth rate of 16.2% on a year over year basis. Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East also posted considerable increases, with 9.4%, 8%, and 7.3% growth rates respectively.

North America and Latin America-Caribbean’s freight markets weathered the hurricane season better than their passenger markets, although growth was more subdued. Both regions’ year over year growth rates reached 2.9% and 1.6% respectively, down from 10.1% and 9.1% in August. The resulting year to date figures stood at 4.6% and 6.5% respectively, suggesting that end of year results should remain robust.

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 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 below.

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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