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Continued growth for July passenger traffic; air freight out of the woods

Posted: 12 September 2014 | The Airports Council International | No comments yet

One of the busiest months of the year for global travel saw passenger traffic rise by 4.3% over the previous year…

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One of the busiest months of the year for global travel saw passenger traffic rise by 4.3% over the previous year. This continues to be on par with the average 12-month growth trend of 4.5%. International travel, in particular, is acting as the main catalyst for this strong growth since international passenger traffic rose by 4.8%. Domestic passenger markets moved up by 3.9% for the month.

All regions posted gains in passenger traffic, with Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America posting the highest increases in July passenger numbers at overall growth in the realm of 5%. Cairo (CAI), a major Egyptian airport that serves as the gateway to major tourist destinations, has begun to recover after the tourism sectors were crippled in 2012 and 2013 due to the political and social unrest that swept Northern Africa. The airport experienced double digit gains of 11.5%.

Twenty-eight of Europe’s top thirty busiest airports posted gains in passenger traffic. Among the top 30 airports, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), Brussels (BRU) and Moscow (DME) also achieved significant growth numbers of 21.3%, 14.8% and 13.7% respectively.

Although Dubai (DXB) declined slightly in year-over-year passenger traffic due to a temporary closure of a runway over the summer months, the second and third ranked airports of Doha (DOH) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) posted gains of 11.2% and 21.7% respectively.

North America posted above-average gains of 4.6% in July as compared to the twelve-month average of 2.8%, although traffic was slightly depressed in 2013 as compared to 2014. The region’s top airports—Atlanta (ATL; 3.6%), Los Angeles (LAX; 6.3%) and Chicago (ORD; 7.3%)—all posted strong gains.

Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean experienced passenger growth of 3.5% and 2.7% respectively.

Air freight volumes posted one of the strongest monthly gains in over two years. Overall volumes increased by 6.7% for the month of July. All regions with the exception of Africa posted gains in air freight traffic. The recovery in world trade coupled with improvements in business confidence and domestic demand, particularly in the United States, are largely attributed to the strong recovery. Air freight volumes increased by 8.9% across North American airports. The Middle East posted the highest gains of 12% year-over-year in freight volumes.

“We are likely to see more moderate growth in freight volumes over the long run, which will be more in line with the overall 12-month growth trend in the realm of 3%. Nevertheless, air freight markets appear to be out of the woods with the recent improvements in global trade and commerce,” said Rafael Echevarne, Economics Director, ACI World. “While we have witnessed some slowdowns in certain areas of the world due to geo-political risks and disease outbreaks, on the whole the resilience of the world’s major hubs has circumvented these dangers. Air transport demand remains strong with accumulated traffic growing by 4.5% from January to July. The cyclical slowdowns in emerging markets and the lingering downside risks in advanced economies have left the aviation sector largely unencumbered in the first half of 2014, with passenger traffic maintaining a resilient growth path.”

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