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Buoyant demand for air transport across the world’s airports in first quarter of 2017 - May 29, 2017

Buoyant demand for air transport across the world's airports in first quarter of 2017


Montreal, 29 May 2017 – An overall strengthening of global economic conditions and the continued drop in the cost of air transport through lower fares has helped bolster air transport demand in the first quarter of 2017. Accumulated passenger traffic grew 5.6% year-over-year for the first quarter and for the month of March.

While all regions posted solid gains during the first quarter of 2017, Asia-Pacific stood out in terms of its overall increase in domestic traffic. The region as a whole saw growth of 8.7% year-over-year for the first quarter of 2017. Air transport demand across Chinese airports remained robust. Besides strong first quarter gains at Beijing (PEK; 6.8%) and Shanghai (PVG; 7.6%)—two of the country’s largest airports—Guangzhou (CAN), Chengdu (CTU) and Kunming (KMG), major airports serving the Chinese domestic  market, saw passenger traffic jump 12.2%, 10.5% and 14.5% respectively. Many Indian airports also experienced double digit gains in passenger traffic. Delhi (DEL), the country’s major hub, saw traffic increase 15.8% for the first quarter of 2017.

European airports continued to maintain a strong recovery on major routes from Asia to Europe despite terrorist attacks in the region during 2016. On the whole, European airports posted a gain of 7.1% during the first quarter of 2017.

Improvements in business confidence, economic outlook and global trade have helped revive air freight volumes in the first quarter of 2017. Overall freight volumes increased 8.3% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017 and 10.9% for the month of March. This increase has coincided with an increase in export orders and inventory build-ups in key markets. At a regional level, growth was led by Africa (+15.6%) and Middle East (+15.5%), followed by very strong results from Europe (+13.7%) and Asia Pacific (+13.0%). North America (+5.9%) and Latin America Caribbean (+4.7%) also posted robust growth for the month of March 2017.

Notes for editors

1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2017, ACI serves 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 countries.

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. Download the  PDF version of this media release

Media contact
Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1223
Anita Berthier
Manager, External Relations and Special Events 
ACI World 
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254 
Charts and tables



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Year-over-year percentage changes (% YOY) are calculated from a representative sample.