ACI Media Press Release Archives (2010)

Global passenger traffic rises 7.7% in October; Freight growth slowing, but still 9.6% - 01/11/2010

Geneva, 6 December 2010 – Passenger demand grew markedly in October 2010, with ACI member airports reporting a solid 7.7 percent increase, as compared to October 2009. International passenger traffic grew by a robust 9.9 percent while domestic traffic rose by 6.1 percent. For the first ten months of 2010, world passenger traffic increased by 6.4 percent, with international traffic growing by 7.6 percent and domestic traffic rising by 5.4 percent, as compared to the same period in 2009.

The international freight traffic growth trend continues, but at a weaker pace in October 2010. Total freight handled worldwide in October 2010 grew by 9.6 percent compared to October 2009 with international freight rising by 12 percent and domestic freight by 3.9 percent. The first ten months of 2010 showed total freight growing by 19.5 percent with international freight increasing by 25.1 percent and domestic freight rising by 9.3 percent.

ACI World Economics Director Andreas Schimm comments, “Passenger growth is very robust and will most likely hold above 6 percent at year end which is excellent news after a 2 percent drop in 2009. Looking at regional results what is striking is that growth curves are converging. Growth in North America and Europe is accelerating whereas it has been slowing down in Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean regions.

“This narrowing of the significant spreads seen over the past 12 months is particularly visible in international traffic results. This month we see a mere 4 percentage points between North America (8.7) and Asia Pacific (12.5) and this performance contributes toa continuation of the strong double digit international growth we have seen throughout the year.”

Growth remains weak or negative in some key markets such as Japan, UK and Mexico as well as at some US airports, but they are out-performing the previous lows. Russia, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil spearhead October results, while Shanghai continues to outperform other Chinese airports driven by the World Expo. A number of Spanish airports have also reported very solid double-digit growth defying the flat national economy.

For freight traffic, Schimm notes that the nearly 10 percent increase remains a positive sign. “October was the first month in 2010 allowing a comparison of worldwide traffic growth to a growth period in 2009. Double-digit growth rates are not sustainable over the long run, of course, but it seems that growth can continue in a range between 5 and 10 percent in the foreseeable future. As with passenger traffic, a narrowing spread of growth figures indicates consolidation on a healthy level and underpins a positive outlook for the world economy for the next 6 months.”

The two largest international air freight markets Asia Pacific and Europe saw solid increases of 12.4 and 15.8 percent respectively for October 2010 over 2009, and for the 10 month year-to-date period an increase of 27.5 and 23 percent respectively. Only the Latin America – Caribbean region recorded a decline in October (-1.06%).

Schimm concludes, “It seems the industry is moving into the post-recovery phase with less peak growth but a broader base of growing markets underpinned by stronger demand across all regions particularly in international traffic which bodes well for the rest of the year and supports a positive outlook for 2011.”


Africa: Strong passenger growth was reported in popular tourist destinations, with international traffic up by 10.7 percent. Positive results include Cairo (8.8%), Casablanca (12%), Hurghada (13%), Johannesburg (7.6%), Saint Denis (14.9%), Sharm El Sheikh (15.1%) and Tunis (15.5%). Good results were registered at several smaller airports across the region including Abidjan (6.8%), Antananarivo (18.5%), Dar Es Salaam (7.5%) and Luxor (10.6%).

Asia Pacific: Across the region, international traffic grew by 12.5 percent and domestic by 8.6 percent, leading all regions in both categories. Global traffic leaders were Incheon (26.3%) and Shanghai (28.9%), followed by strong results in other key destinations including Hong Kong (11.9%), Manila (17.1%), Singapore (7.9%), Taipei (14%). Kuala Lumpur’s international traffic grew by 17.2 percent, whereas domestic dropped by 1.8 percent; Jakarta rose by 9.7%. Japanese airport traffic growth lagged behind the regional boom, with Narita showing a modest 1.8% increase and Haneda reporting a 1.9% decline. Indian airports Hyderabad (13.8%) and Madras (14.7 %) led results, followed by New Delhi (7.4%) and Mumbai (4.3%).

Europe: With a regional increase in international traffic of 9 percent as well as almost 6 percent increase in domestic travel, most of the largest hubs saw solid growth – Amsterdam (8.2%), Frankfurt (8.5%), London Heathrow (7.2%), Madrid (5.4%), Paris (3.8%), Munich (9.1%), and Rome (11.5%). Double digit growth was reported by several airports with over 1 million passengers including Antalya (26.6%), Barcelona (18.1%), Berlin (11.6%), Copenhagen (13.4%), Düsseldorf (11%), Lisbon (11.6%), Milan (11%), Moscow DME (15.7%), Moscow SVO (31.5%), Stockholm (11.4%) and Vienna (11.4%).

Latin America & Caribbean: Overall results for the region profited from continued strong growth in international traffic of 11.7 percent. Key airports in the region report good results: Brasilia (4.8%), Cancun (10.7%), Lima (24.6%), Quito (8.9%), and both of Sao Paolo’s airports (CGH 3.3% and GRU 16%). Booming domestic traffic (43%) was a key contributor at Lima. International traffic was the driver at Sao Paulo GRU (19.3 %), in Cancun (12 %) and in Buenos Aires EZE (6.9%). At Rio de Janeiro, despite strong international growth (27.8%), a notable drop in domestic traffic gave a negative total result of -3.3 percent. In Mexico City a 6.5 percent drop in international, despite a 1.5 percent increase in domestic, gave a total negative result of -1.2 percent.

Middle East: Traffic growth in the region is still robust at 9.1 percent for international traffic, with strong performance at several airports including Abu Dhabi (13.3%), Dubai (14.8%), Muscat (23.1%), and Tel Aviv (6%). However, Kuwait saw a loss of international traffic (-4.8%) as did Bahrain (-5.8%).

North America: In the US and Canada, international traffic grew by 8.7 percent and domestic traffic by 4.4 percent. All the largest airports in the sample (over 3 million passengers) report positive traffic growth for October: Atlanta (3.8%), Chicago ORD (5.6%), Dallas/Fort Worth (4.2%), Houston (3.5%), Las Vegas (2%), Los Angeles (4.8%), New York JFK (5.6%), and San Francisco (7.4%), which boosts results for the year to date averages as well. Excellent results were reported by Boston (11%), Detroit (10.6%), Fort Lauderdale (10.7%) and Minneapolis (10%), Salt Lake City (8.7%) and Toronto (8.2%). Small declines were reported by Cleveland, Edmonton, Newark, Oakland, San Diego, and Winnipeg.

Table 1: Summary Worldwide Traffic Results, October 2010
(% change)
Oct 2010
over Oct2009
YTD Oct 2010 
Rolling 12 months,
 through Oct 2010
International passenger
Domestic passenger
Total passenger
International freight
Domestic freight
Total freight