Passenger and air freight traffic continue on growth path in May

Posted: 11 July 2014 | The Airports Council International | No comments yet

Global passenger traffic grew by 4.7% for the month of May, which is slightly above the trend of 4.5% year over year for the last twelve months…

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Global passenger traffic grew by 4.7% for the month of May, which is slightly above the trend of 4.5% year over year for the last twelve months. International travel continues to contribute to the overall upward surge in passenger traffic with an increase of 5.9% in international passengers for the month. Domestic passenger markets moved up by 3.7%.

Most regions posted strong gains in passenger traffic, with the exception of Africa, which was almost flat for the month of May as compared to the previous year. Among the growth leaders, the Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean experienced robust gains of 7.5% and 6.7% respectively in passenger traffic for the month of May.

Overall global growth in passengers came from a mix of airports in emerging markets and advanced economies. In particular, major North American airports posted above average gains in passenger traffic. Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Atlanta (ATL) increased by 6.4%, 4.9%, 4.8% and 3.4% respectively, which are all above the May North American growth rate of 3.3%, as well as the region’s average 12-month growth rate of 2.1%.The higher growth at these airports is in tandem with the economic recovery and overall improvement in business conditions.

Air freight markets maintained growth momentum, achieving year-over-year growth of 4.2% for the month of May. The improvements in world trade coupled with a recovery in global demand point to signs of a stabilized recovery in air freight markets. Europe and Asia-Pacific experienced the strongest gains as compared to the previous year with a rise of 6.6% and 5.6% respectively. The European air freight hubs of Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA) and Paris (CDG) rebounded from the woes of the Euro area crisis in 2013 to growth levels of 14.1%, 7% and 5.9% respectively. The Asian hubs of Hong Kong (HKG) and Shanghai (PVG) also experienced buoyant recoveries as compared to the previous year with growth of 8.3% and 7.5% respectively.

“From a long-run historical perspective, the air freight industry remains relatively sluggish since it has barely surpassed the volumes that existed in the pre-Great Recession era,” said ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. “The weakness in the air freight market over the last decade is largely attributed to a loss in market share to other competing modes of freight shipment such as ocean freight. While the air freight market appears to have stabilized over the last quarter of 2013 and into 2014 in conjunction with the ongoing recovery in the global economy, the new paradigm shifts toward cheaper modes of delivery means that suppliers of air freight capacity need to rethink their business model in order to remain competitive.

“With regard to passenger traffic, it seems to be business as usual as we enter into the busiest months of the year for air travel,” Echevarne continued. “The international passenger continues to show resilience month after month. In essence, it is the international travel markets that are consistently keeping the aviation sector afloat as almost every region posted robust gains for the month of May,” Echevarne added.

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