Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Cargo, passenger traffic at airports strengthened in May

Airports recorded healthy cargo volumes and strong passenger traffic in May on positive business sentiment and increased international travel, according to Airports Council International (ACI).

The rise in business confidence translated into a robust recovery in air freight volumes in 2017, increasing by 11.1% year-over-year in May, ACI said.

All regions demonstrated high growth during that period, but Europe and North America presented the highest increases, with growth rates of 12% and 11.9%, respectively.

In particular, the United States and the United Kingdom appear to have recovered after a period of economic uncertainty regarding U.S. trade policy and risks related to the Brexit vote.

The largest freight hubs in North America contributed the most to freight growth. Four of the region’s top five airports in cargo volume, representing 43.2% of total cargo in 2016, posted double-digit growth in May 2017. Anchorage, Louisville, Miami, and Los Angeles experienced increases between 11% and 13%. Memphis, the largest freight hub of the region, grew 1.3%.

Domestic freight played an important role in that increase, surging 9.1% in May after a period of stunted growth, illustrated by the 1.7% year-to-date results.

In Europe, Istanbul continued on its recovery, posting 21.1% increase in total freight traffic. Other freight hubs such as Amsterdam, London-Heathrow, and Leipzig also showed high growth at 12.3%, 10.6%, and 9.1%, respectively.

In terms of passenger traffic, ACI reported a robust 6.2% expansion in May year-over-year, in line with the year-to-date growth of 6.5%. The main growth driver remained international passenger traffic, which reached 8.1% year-over-year.

At the regional level, Europe and Asia-Pacific posted the highest passenger traffic increases at 8.2% and 7.9%, respectively.

Europe’s main growth driver, as with the global market, was the increase in international passengers at 9% year-over-year compared to its domestic component at 6.1%. The Russian Federation, Portugal, and the Netherlands contributed significantly to this growth, posting rates of 21.3%, 16.8%, and 9%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific’s growth was distributed more evenly between international (7.7%) and domestic (7.9%) passenger traffic.

Indian and Chinese airports continued to contribute to the region’s sustained expansion despite Beijing, the largest airport in the region, experiencing slower growth. The Middle East experienced a significant slowdown in May 2017 compared to a year prior, posting a 4.1% increase in May 2017 versus 11.4% in May 2016. The ban on personal electronic devices on flights from Middle Eastern and Northern countries, in place between March and July, may have hindered traffic gains in the affected states, said ACI.

ACI is the trade association of the world’s airports. As of January 2017, it has 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 countries.

Photo: A.Savin

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