Traffic Growth Slows, Still Hits Seven Percent in July

Geneva, 1 September 2010 - ACI World’s monthly PaxFlash and FreightFlash reports show that passenger travel and air freight continued to grow in July but at a slower rate than in previous months.

ACI Director Economics, Andreas Schimm comments, "Growth in the passenger and freight sector is likely to have peaked in the second quarter. As of August, passenger numbers will compare against positive growth in the reference period of 2009, whereas for freight that will only be the case from October. Therefore the last quarter of 2010 will see a return to more ordinary growth numbers in the single digits.

That being said, 2010 so far has beaten expectations and the recovery is well on track. Regional differences remain, however, and may become even more pronounced as the development of economies in the U.S. and Europe appear increasingly uncertain and show a tendency to slow down again."


July 2010 over July 2009 YTD Jan-July 2010 Rolling 12 months to July 2010 PaxFlash International passenger 9.5 7.2 4.4 Domestic passenger 4.5 4.9 4.7 Total passenger 6.9 5.9 4.5 FreightFlash International freight 23.3 29.7 18.4 Domestic freight 7.6 11.1 9.0 Total freight 17.9 23.1 15.1

Good growth rates were maintained thanks to performance in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean regions, both of which grew by 14 percent. In these two regions only two airports in the sample registered a decline: Salvador (-4%) and Osaka (0%). July results in both regions were characterized by strong international passenger traffic particularly in Latin America (+25%) driven by Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Mainland China, Hong Kong and India continue to dominate growth in the Asia Pacific region. Growth of international passengers in China was stronger than domestic, whereas in India domestic traffic outperformed international. Shanghai (PVG, +37%), Beijing (+30%), Taipei (+25%), Kuala Lumpur (+21%), Hong Kong (+18%) and Singapore (+16%) were the top performers in international traffic in the region. A domestic traffic increase in Shanghai (SHA) of 45 percent can be attributed to the World Expo in Shanghai which drew large numbers of Chinese visitors.

In Europe, Munich and Frankfurt grew by 11 and 8 percent respectively and both Vienna and Copenhagen registered an increase of 11.3 percent. The traffic volumes in Russia, Turkey and Germany further extended the region's growth to reach an overall 6 percent increase. All UK airports in the sample declined except for London Heathrow (+3.6%) and remain a drag on overall European results.

Athens registered the largest drop in passengers (-8%), a decline most likely related to current social and economic difficulties within the country.

Tourism destinations in Africa contributed to a 10.6 percent increase in international passenger numbers, but stagnation in domestic traffic (+0.4%) led to an overall plus of 7.7 percent in the region. Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian airports grew by double digits whereas South African airports fell from the steep increases seen in June that were related to the World Cup (Johannesburg, +0.6%).

In the Middle East, a surge in traffic in Muscat (+25.5%) comes at the expense of growth in Bahrain (-3%) as Oman Air continues restructuring. Contributing to steady overall traffic expansion (+14.3%) for the region were Dubai, where passenger numbers increased by 14 percent, followed by Abu Dhabi at +9 percent and Beirut +10 percent.

In North America, international traffic continues to expand (+7.5%) whereas the dominant domestic market still lags behind (-0.9%). Almost half of the airports in the sample reported overall traffic declines, with steepest drops at Cincinnati (-31%) and St Louis (-10%). Three Canadian airports led the group of positive growth airports: Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa (each +7%). Double digit increases in international traffic were reported by Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington Dulles. For domestic traffic only Boston (+6.4%), Baltimore, Orlando and Chicago O'Hare reported greater than 3 percent growth.

For freight, although the figures still appear high, the growth in global domestic freight has been slowing markedly as the world freight trend chart illustrates. For the first time since November 2009 total freight growth was less than 20 percent. Although international freight throughput remained stronger in Asia Pacific (+23%), Europe (+22%), Latin America-Caribbean (+28%) and North America (+31%), total domestic freight tonnage rose worldwide by just 7.6 percent in July as compared to the January through July increase of 11 percent.