Montréal, 11 August 2014 – Global passenger traffic continued along the growth path as the number of passengers grew by 4.5% for the month of June. This is on par with the average 12 month growth trend of 4.7%. International travel continued to maintain momentum by contributing to the upward surge in passenger traffic with an increase of 5% in June. Domestic passenger markets moved up by 4.2% for the month.
Most regions posted strong gains in passenger traffic, with the exception of Africa, which was almost flat for the month of June as compared to the previous year. Europe posted the highest growth rate (6.1%) since passenger numbers were significantly depressed in 2013 due to the Euro area crisis. The top 30 busiest airports in Europe all posted gains in passenger traffic. On the other hand, Asia-Pacific experienced more subdued growth in June with mixed results across many airports in the region. While Tokyo (HND) posted strong gains of 7.6%, growth at Beijing (PEK) was almost flat with respect to the previous year. Jakarta (CGK), Indonesia’s busiest airport, also saw a decline in passenger traffic of 6.9%. Several airlines are pulling back on services in an effort to restructure operations in the region. The Middle East was also well below the 12-month growth trend in June with growth of only 4.4%. The low growth rate is mainly attributable to the closure of a runway at Dubai (DXB), which was being refurbished over the summer months.
Air freight markets achieved moderate growth of 2.2% for the month of June. The recovery in world trade coupled with an improvement in domestic demand in advanced economies has helped bolster air freight markets over the last three quarters. Asia-Pacific experienced the strongest gains as compared to the previous year with a rise of 4.5%. The Asian hubs of Hong Kong (HKG) and Shanghai (PVG) also experienced buoyant recoveries as compared to the previous year with growth of 7.3% and 6.5% respectively. Memphis (MEM), United States’ largest freight hub and home to Fed Ex, decreased slightly by 1.2%.
“As we pass the year’s mid-point and look back over the last six months, it is impressive to see the continued resilience in air transport demand,” said ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. “Surprisingly, the cyclical slowdowns in emerging markets and the turbulent recoveries in advanced economies have left the aviation sector largely unfettered in the first half of 2014 with year-to-date growth rates of 4.8% in passenger traffic and 3.7% in freight volumes. Nevertheless, the fragile state of the world economy, the recent geopolitical risks in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa represent significant downside risks for aviation. Thus, while there is an ongoing sense of optimism for the industry, one should be cognizant of these pitfalls.”
“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.
Notes for Editors
1. Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide association of airports, has 591 member airport authorities, which operate 1,861 airports in 177 countries. ACI’s mission is to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations, and this mandate is carried out through the organization’s multiple training opportunities, as well as the customer service benchmarking programme, a wide range of conferences, industry statistical products and best practice publications.
2. PaxFlash and FreightFlash statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60% of total passenger traffic and 70% of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.
3. Regional results and trend graphics are provided below.
4. For the PDF download of this media release, please click here.
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