Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Airport passenger traffic slows; air freight still going strong

Airports posted moderate passenger growth, but maintained a high growth rate for global freight in January, according to Airports Council International (ACI).

Passenger traffic growth was more moderate in January 2018 for most regions following a successful year in 2017, the slowdown linked partly to the timing of the Lunar New Year.

ACI reported that global passenger traffic is up 4.9% in January this year on a year-over-year basis. International passenger traffic, which was the major driver for global traffic increases in 2017, grew at 5.8% in January year-on-year, closing the gap with domestic traffic, which expanded 4.3%.

Europe grew faster than other regions, posting 7.6% growth in total passenger traffic in January 2018 year-on-year. This regained momentum drove its rolling 12-month figures to +8.6%, after a modest growth of 5.2% in December.

Two countries bolstered the region’s growth momentum for the month: Turkey, still recovering from a major downturn in air traffic, grew at 28.1%, followed by the Russian Federation (+12.2).

Asia-Pacific and North America, while still growing at a robust rate, slowed slightly during the period, respectively posting +4.4% and +3.2% year-on-year. Nevertheless, Asia-Pacific is expected to rebound significantly in February as a result of the Chinese Lunar New Year. India was a notable outlier in the region’s major markets in January, posting 15.3% growth for the month.

Africa grew 11.4% year-on-year. The region’s growth was attributable to Egypt, Morocco, and Nigeria, with figures of +21.7%, +16.6%, and +13.1% respectively.

The Middle East fell during January, posting a slight 0.4% decline year-on-year. With geopolitical unrest affecting a number of countries in the region, and the blockade of Qatar still upheld, slower growth is likely to continue in the mid-term. As of the latest figures, the region’s rolling 12-month figures were still relatively robust, with +3.9% at the end of January.

On the other hand, air freight volumes appear to be on a continued high-growth path despite the protectionist rhetoric that swept across many countries.

Backed by a strengthened global economy and trade, the air freight market has shown remarkable resilience to disruption in the last year, said ACI. At the regional level, nearly all regions posted growth, reaching +8.0% or more in January.

In the major markets, North America led the way with +8.8%, closely followed by Asia-Pacific (+8.3%) and Europe (+8.1%). At the national level, the United States (+8.8%) drove most of the increase in North America, with Canada growing at a slower pace of +3%.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia (+26.2%), China (+12.5%), and India (+9.7%) all contributed to the region’s high figures.

Most major countries grew at a solid pace in Europe; Turkey and Spain posted +32.6% and +19.0%, respectively. Luxembourg, Belgium, and Italy followed closely, all growing by double-digit figures.

Africa and Latin America-Caribbean both reached double-digit figures, with +12.0% and +11.9%, respectively. In Latin America-Caribbean, Argentina and Brazil posted significant growth as they recovered from challenging macroeconomic contexts, with +29.1% and +21.1% respectively.

The Middle East was the exception, continuing its slowdown to reach +0.7% in January. Although the region’s rolling 12-month figures remained strong at +5.4%, a downward trend was visible in the last four months, after a surge of high growth during the summer of 2017.

Not all major markets performed well, however, with the Philippines (-22.7%), Venezuela (-18.7%), and Egypt (-5.4%) all pulling their respective regions down slightly.

Photo: shimin

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