June passenger traffic growth strong, freight flat
Publication date: 4 August 2011
Worldwide passenger traffic grew significantly in June, up nearly 5 percent worldwide over June of 2010. International traffic saw a 6.2 percent increase and domestic traffic was up 3.6%. Only the Africa region saw a decline, largely due to civil unrest in several major North African markets. Commenting on the trends, Andreas Schimm, Director of Economics at ACI World noted: “June results are very robust closing off an excellent second quarter against the background of numerous challenges. Passenger traffic growth was firmly supported by higher demand in Europe pointing to a positive summer holiday season while results in Latin America/Caribbean remained strong despite many flight cancellations due to the volcanic eruption in Chile. Other airports in the southern hemisphere in South Africa and Australia also suffered from the ash cloud causing some traffic declines there. All in all, passenger demand seems very healthy and resilient defying a somewhat shaky and erratic post recovery period in key national economies”.
Freight tonnage was down 1.9 percent for June. Schimm commented: “Freight may well be down partially due to high fuel prices and it is likely there has been a diversion to maritime for freight that is less time-sensitive. And in Asia Pacific, there continues to be a contraction in freight volumes as Japan recovers from the industrial production decreases following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. But the IMF continues to forecast growth in emerging and developing economies and increased world trade for the last half of 2011; thus cargo should bounce back before year-end”.
Regional results (see Tables 2 and 3)
Latin America/Caribbean, with particularly strong growth in Brazil and Mexico, had the highest rate of growth of the six regions with 9.4 percent. The Middle East followed with. 8.9 percent, as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat all showed double-digit growth. Europe came in at 6.7 percent, with high growth in at many regional airports (most of which rely on low-cost carriers) and steady growth at the major hubs. Once again Turkey’s airports registered high growth, with Istanbul’s two airports both up double-digits. In northern Europe, Helsinki showed impressive growth and Oslo and Stockholm both rose sharply as well. Among the major hubs Amsterdam led the way. In North America, bright spots were Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Vancouver.
In Asia/Pacific, steady growth in most the region was offset by a steep decline at Tokyo Narita and a downturn at Osaka as well as the economy struggled to recover from the earthquake and tsunami in the first quarter. Among the larger airports, Bangkok saw the fastest growth. In Africa, the continent’s busiest airport, Cairo, saw passengers decline by considerably. Regional airports in Egypt saw larger percentage declines. Johannesburg was down over 10 percent as the volcanic ash cloud adversely affected operations.
In air freight, Africa saw declines paralleling the drop in passengers, with the volume down 12.8 percent. But Asia/Pacific and Europe were also in negative growth for the month. In Asia/Pacific, trade in high value auto parts, one major driver of volume, has been particularly affected in the region as Japan’s manufacturing sector struggles to recover. In Europe, freight was off 3.6 percent. One explanation could be that shippers in Europe can easily divert freight to truck or rail when fuel prices are high. North America and the Middle East had negligible gains over June 2010 and Latin America/Caribbean was a bit stronger at 2.2 percent growth. Cargo load factors were reported to be down worldwide, as many carriers maintained high capacity after the unprecedented growth in freight volumes throughout most of 2010.
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