ACI Media Releases

Global passenger traffic maintains growth momentum; air freight jumps up in November - Jan 12, 2015

Montréal, 12 January 2015  – For the period from January to November 2014, accumulated passenger traffic grew by 5% on a year-to-date basis. For the month of November alone, passenger numbers grew by 5.4% year-over-year. Airports also reported an increase of 5.6% in international passenger traffic; domestic passenger traffic increased by 5.4% as compared to November 2013. 

African passenger traffic is in recovery after a period of significant weakness over 2012 and 2013, due to the instability brought on by the Arab Spring. Overall, African passenger traffic increased by 5.4% in November. Cairo (CAI) and Hurghada (HRG), two of Egypt’s major airports, saw passenger traffic jump back by 12.6% and 54.7% respectively for the month of November.

The Middle East also achieved strong growth in passenger traffic at 6.1% for the month of November. Growth primarily came from Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Doha (DOH). The airports posted gains of 15.6% and 11% respectively. Dubai (DXB), the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic, experienced growth of 4.3% for the month.

The Asia-Pacific region experienced growth of 6% in overall passenger traffic. Growth in the domestic Chinese market continues to be a large contributor to growth. Hangzhou (HGH), Shanghai (PVG), Chengdu (CTU) and Shenzhen (SZX) achieved double digit growth of 20%, 16%, 12.6% and 11.7% respectively. The region’s top ranked airports—Beijing (PEK), Tokyo (HND) and Hong Kong (HKG)—posted gains of 9.1%, 5.4% and 5.5% respectively.

European airports posted a strong November with growth of 5.7% in passenger traffic. 27 of the top 30 busiest European airports recorded gains in passenger traffic. This represents a recovery from a weakened Euro area that persisted throughout 2013. Istanbul (IST) continues to report impressive double digit gains at 12.8% year-over-year for the month of November. Air transport demand in Madrid (MAD) and Rome (FCO) has bounced back following the weakness in these economies during the Euro area crisis. Each airport achieved growth of 9.3% and 10.6% respectively.

Latin America-Caribbean and North American airports grew by 6% and 4.3% respectively in passenger traffic.

Global air freight traffic continued to maintain the upward trend in volumes with a year-over-year growth rate of 4% for the month of November. The overall accumulated volumes for the last twelve months rose by 4.7%. International freight volumes jumped up by 5.6% whereas domestic volumes increased by 2.6%.

The Middle East continues to achieve the highest growth in freight volumes at 12.8% year-over-year for the month of November. Since the commencement of operations at Dubai World Central (DWC), the airport has remained one of the major contributors to overall increases in freight volumes for the region. Air freight volumes at DWC have increased by over 301.9% as compared to the previous year.

Africa is experiencing some volatility in month-to-month freight volumes. While October freight volumes achieved significant gains over the previous year, November volumes were in decline by 1.7%.

Asia-Pacific posted increases in volumes of 4.7% for the month of November, which is slightly below the twelve-month growth trend of 5.6%. Nevertheless, the region’s largest freight hubs continue to report gains in volumes. Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (PVG) and Incheon (ICN) saw volumes increase by 5.5%, 8% and 3.6% respectively for the month.

North America experienced moderate growth of 2.2%. Memphis (MEM), North America’s busiest freight airport and FedEx hub, and Louisville (SDF), the UPS hub, were almost flat with respect to year-over-year growth. Anchorage (ANC) posted a gain of 2.4% in freight volumes.

Europe experienced more moderate growth of 3.1% year-over-year. However, results were mixed across airports in the region. Frankfurt (FRA) grew by 2.7% while Paris (CDG) had a decline of 1.8%. Istanbul (IST) achieved one of the highest gains in freight volumes for the region at 14.3% year-over-year.

With ongoing weakness in the Brazilian and Argentinian economies, freight volumes in Latin-America-Caribbean were flat for November as compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, the busiest airports of São Paulo (GRU) and Mexico City (MEX) posted gains of 4.2% and 10.7% respectively.

“Annual growth in passenger traffic in 2014 will end the year in the realm of 5%. As we look forward into 2015, we have two forces at play working in opposite directions. On the one hand, economic growth rates among certain emerging markets have diverged. Of the BRICS economies, we see India and China maintaining favourable growth while Brazil and Russia experience a slowdown. The Euro area continues to teeter towards a recession. Thus, a number of downside risks remain on the horizon in 2015.” said ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. “On the other hand, the recent decrease in oil prices and improvements in the American economy are likely to contribute positively to the continued increases in passenger numbers. Moreover, the boosting of world trade volumes in the latter half of 2014 has had a positive impact on the air freight market.”


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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 on the following pages.

  4. For a PDF version of this media release, click here.

Media contacts 

Martine Ohayon 
Director, Communications and Events 
ACI World 
T: +1 514 373 1224 
E: mohayon@aci.aero 

Ryan White 
Manager, Communications 
ACI World 
T: +1 514 373 1226 
E: rwhite@aci.aero