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Passenger traffic grows by 6% in October 2015; air freight volumes up marginally by 0.3% - Dec 11, 2015

Montréal, 11 December 2015 – Passenger demand continued its positive trend in October 2015 with the world’s airports reporting a 6% increase compared to October 2014. International passenger traffic showed stronger growth at 6.3%, while domestic passenger traffic grew by 5.8%. The first ten months of 2015 showed world passenger traffic increasing by 6.1%, with similar growth rates for international and domestic passenger traffic—6.2% and 6.4% respectively. This growth has been stimulated by lower fares, particularly for leisure travel.

North America reported the highest increase in passenger traffic at 7.2%, the result of low oil prices, airlines’ improved financial positions and expectations for better macroeconomic performance in the coming year. Miami (MIA), Seattle (SEA), Washington-Reagan (DCA) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD) reported robust double-digit growth rates of 17%, 13%, 12% and 10% respectively.

Middle Eastern airports experienced similar total growth at 6.9%, but with mixed results. While Abu Dhabi (AUH), Muscat (MCT) and Sharjah (SHJ) reported double-digit growth rates of 14%, 22% and 13% respectively, Dubai (DXB), the leading airport in the region, grew more moderately by 4.4%. Tel-Aviv (TLV) was also up by 4.4%, while Kuwait (KWI) and Bahrain (BAH) declined by 5% and 6% respectively.

Strong traffic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in South Africa, was not sufficient to offset declining traffic in the North, where spillovers from regional conflicts and intensified security and social tensions are weighing on travel confidence. Total passenger traffic declined by 1.2% as compared to October 2014. In Egypt, the three busiest airports—Cairo (CAI), Hurghada (HRG) and Sharm El Sheikh (SSH)—reported traffic losses of 4.6%, 8.1% and 5.8% respectively. Passenger traffic at Lagos (LOS) declined by a substantial 12%, the result of intensified terrorist threats and weakened oil prices. Airports in South Africa, however, reported strong growth rates of 6.9%, 9.8% and 6.2% at Johannesburg (JNB), Cape Town (CPT) and Durban (DUR) respectively. At the country-level, passenger growth in South Africa amounted to an increase of 8.1%, despite low projected growth for the economy and energy supply bottlenecks.

Passenger traffic at European airports grew by 5.7% in October 2015, an indication of the moderate euro area recovery brought about by lower oil prices, monetary easing and the depreciation of the Euro currency. All major hubs posted moderate growth rates except for Madrid (MAD), which grew by 13.5%. Moscow-Domodedovo (DME) declined by 12%, mirroring the situation in North Africa, the largest leisure travel market for Russian citizens.

In Asia-Pacific, passenger traffic went up by 6.7%, reflecting more moderate growth rates after the Chinese slowdown counterbalanced with strong economic growth in India. Shanghai-Pudong (PVG) came to the finish line in October with impressive growth of 12.5%, outperforming all other major airports in China and highlighting its growing potential as a global economic and touristic centre. Similar growth was reported by Seoul (ICN) (+10%). Passenger traffic at Delhi (DEL) grew by 16.2% and Jakarta (CGK), Indonesia’s busiest airport, saw passenger traffic decline by 8.3%, the result of cutting the number of flights allowed per hour due to safety concerns.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, passenger traffic grew moderately by 3.2% as compared to October 2014. At Sao Paulo (GRU), passenger traffic declined by a notable 5.6%, in line with the passenger traffic decline in Brazil of 6.1% during the month. The decline reflects a deteriorating macroeconomic situation in the country coupled with plummeting consumer confidence and declining investment. Mexico City (MEX), Lima (LIM) and Cancun (CUN), however, reported strong growth of 10.8%, 11.7% and 12.6% respectively. Mexico maintains momentum in passenger traffic, growing at 13% in the first ten months of the year.

Air freight markets were significantly weaker as compared to passenger markets, inching up by only 0.3% growth worldwide, with international freight growing at 0.3% and domestic freight at 0.2%. The results for major freight hubs were mixed. While Dubai (DXB) reported a 10% increase in freight volumes, Frankfurt (FRA), Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Taipei (TPE) experienced declines in air freight of 2.0%, 3.4% and 7.7% respectively. The largest air freight hubs in Asia—Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (PVG) and Incheon (ICN)—posted modest growth rates of 2.0%, 2.2% and 1.3% respectively.

In Brazil, air freight went down by a substantial 15%, followed by Argentina and Peru with air freight declines of 7.9% and 6.7% respectively. Strong freight growth in Mexico (+10.7%) was not sufficient to offset the freight declines in Brazil, Argentina and Peru, resulting in a 5.6% decline for the region as a whole.

At Memphis (MEM) and Louisville (SDF), the North America region’s busiest cargo hubs, freight was flat at 0.6% and declined by 1.1% respectively. Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX) grew by 0.6% and 0.8% respectively, while New York (JFK) saw air freight decline by 7%. At the regional level, air freight declined by 0.2%.

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Notes for editors 

1.  Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide association of airports, has 595 members operating 1,853 airports in 173 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. To download the PDF of this media release, please click here. 

Media contact 

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