ACI Report Paints Positive Picture for Passenger Business

Preliminary traffic results from global airport trade representative Airports Council International (ACI) based on reports from over 1,000 airports worldwide, indicate that global passenger traffic grew at a rate of four per cent in 2012, but cargo and aircraft movements were relatively flat as compared to the results from 2011.  The data shows that global passenger traffic has remained resilient in the face of global uncertainties and downside risks that plagued the global economy throughout 2012.

The preliminary report is based on the submissions of over 1,093 reporting entities among the over 1,751 airports in 174 countries and territories that non-profit organisation ACI represents.  Although the final report to be published this summer may differ slightly from now, the trends will already be clear.  The stand out figures of the report show a 4.0 per cent growth in passenger numbers, a 5.6 per cent increase in international passengers, no change in total cargo (including mail) and small declines in international freight (down 0.1 per cent) and total aircraft movements (0.2 per cent)

The report shows that while airports in the developed economies of Europe and North America experienced only modest gains in passenger traffic, with year-over-year growth of +1.7 per cent and +1.2 per cent respectively, air transport markets in emerging economies continue to show buoyant activity.  As many as five airports in emerging markets with over 40 million passengers reported double-digit growth rates. These airports comprised Istanbul Ataturk (+20.6 per cent), Dubai International (+13.2 per cent), Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International (+12.1 per cent), Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International (+10.6 per cent) and Singapore Changi International (+10.0 per cent).

The positivity in the passenger side of the business was not echoed by the freight sector as thevolume of air cargo in 2012 remained more or less at 2010 and 2011 levels.  Most regions remained relatively weak in relation to their year-over-year growth rates.  Half of the airports in the top 30 busiest cargo airports experienced declines in 2012.  With an overall contraction of -2.6 per cent in cargo traffic across European airports, the only bright spot was Middle Eastern airports with year-over-year growth in the realm of +5 per cent for the region as a whole in 2012.

“Although we saw slightly lower year-over-year growth rates in passenger traffic in 2012, from month to month as compared to 2011, the overall result for the year was in line with ACI forecasts, which factored in the slowdown in certain European and North American markets,” said Rafael Echevarne, Director of Economics, ACI World.  “As the global economy and international trade gradually picks up steam, we are optimistic to see stronger demand for air transport in the latter half of 2013.”

“Air cargo had mixed results throughout 2012 with some months showing modest gains while other months posting declines. Amid the significant downside risks in the Euro area and the fiscal deadlock in the United States that remained omnipresent throughout the year, growth in the air cargo market came to an overall halt in 2012,” he added on the freight business.

In terms of the world’s top airports by movements, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International (growth of +3.3 per cent) continues to be the world’s busiest airport, while Beijing Capital International (+4.1 per cent) maintains second place. London Heathrow (+0.9 per cent) remains in third and Tokyo Haneda (+6.7 per cent) moves into fourth position due to the recent growth of international services from the facility following the opening up of additional slots, while Chicago O’Hare (-0.1 per cent) takes fifth place.  Interestingly, only three other airports in the top 30 experienced declines in passenger traffic in 2012.  These comprised Madrid Barajas (-9.0 per cent), Houston George Bush Intercontinental (-0.4 per cent) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (-0.3 per cent).

WORLD’S BUSIEST AIRPORTS: Total Passenger Traffic 2012

Rank 2012

Change vs 2011

Airport

Passengers

% Change (vs 2011)

1

-

ATLANTA GA, US (ATL)

95,462,867

3.3 %

2

-

BEIJING, CN (PEK)

81,929,359

4.1 %

3

-

LONDON, GB (LHR)

70,037,417

0.9 %

4

+1

TOKYO, JP (HND)

66,795,178

6.7 %

5

(-1)

CHICAGO IL, US (ORD)

66,633,503

(-0.1) %

6

-

LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX)

63,688,121

3.0 %

7

-

PARIS, FR (CDG)

61,611,934

1.1 %

8

-

DALLAS/FORT WORTH TX, US (DFW)

58,591,842

1.4 %

9

+3

JAKARTA, ID (CGK)

57,772,762

12.1 %

10

+3

DUBAI, AE (DXB)

57,684,550

13.2 %

11

(-2)

FRANKFURT, DE (FRA)

57,520,001

1.9 %

12

(-2)

HONG KONG, HK (HKG)

56,057,751

5.1 %

13

(-2)

DENVER CO, US (DEN)

53,156,278

0.6 %

14

+2

BANGKOK, TH (BKK)

53,002,328

10.6 %

15

+3

SINGAPORE, SG (SIN)

51,181,804

10.0 %

16

(-2)

AMSTERDAM, NL (AMS)

51,035,590

2.6 %

17

-

NEW YORK NY, US (JFK)

49,291,765

3.5 %

18

+1

GUANGZHOU, CN (CAN)

48,548,430

7.8 %

19

(-4)

MADRID, ES (MAD)

45,176,978

(-9.0) %

20

(+10)

ISTANBUL, TR (IST)

45,124,831

20.6 %

21

-

SHANGHAI, CN (PVG)

44,880,164

8.3 %

22

-

SAN FRANCISCO CA, US (SFO)

44,399,885

8.5 %

23

+2

CHARLOTTE NC, US (CLT)

41,228,372

5.6 %

24

(-4)

LAS VEGAS NV, US (LAS)

40,799,830

0.6 %

25

(-2)

PHOENIX AZ, US (PHX)

40,421,611

(-0.3) %

26

(-2)

HOUSTON TX, US (IAH)

39,891,444

(-0.4) %

27

+1

KUALA LUMPUR, MY (KUL)

39,887,866

5.8 %

28

(-2)

MIAMI FL, US (MIA)

39,467,444

3.0 %

29

NE

INCHEON, KR (ICN)

39,154,375

11.3 %

30

(-3)

MUNICH, DE (MUC)

38,360,604

1.6 %


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