Passenger traffic experienced a “slight surge” in growth to almost five per cent for August compared to previous months during the first and second quarters of 2013, according to latest data from Airports Council International (ACI), the worldwide association of airports which counts 573 member airport authorities, which operate over 1,751 airports in 174 countries in its membership.
Accordin to ACI, annualised growth in passenger traffic for the period from September 2012 to August 2013 was 2.9 per cent with international passenger traffic the leading driver of this growth for the month. In particular, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific both experienced double digit gains of 18.6 per cent and 10.2 per cent in international passenger traffic, respectively.
This was supported by key airport hubs in these regions such as Dubai (DXB) and Jakarta (CGK), which continue to experience robust gains in passenger traffic on a monthly basis. DXB continues to realise its gains in international passenger traffic for August (23 per cent) by “serving as the fulcrum that connects east and west,” says ACI, while Jakarta's traffic growth (16 per cent) is largely attributed to its “burgeoning domestic market of over 42 million passengers per annum”.
Air freight remains relatively sluggish with respect to year-over-year rates for August, according to ACI, with growth being almost flat at minus 0.2 per cent. On an annualised basis, from September 2012 to August 2013, there was virtually no change in the volume of air freight as compared to the previous period.
During this twelve month period, over 50 per cent of the world's top 20 airports in terms of air freight volume experienced a decrease in traffic, according to the latest statistics. However, the first ranked Hong Kong (HKG) and second ranked Memphis (MEM) still achieved growth of 2.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively, over this time interval.
"The above average growth in passenger traffic for the month of August is indicative of the improvement in air transport demand, which is fuelled primarily by international travel. As global economic conditions improve, particularly with respect to the acceleration of GDP growth in Europe and North America, we are likely to see correspondingly stronger growth in passenger traffic towards the end of 2013,” said Rafael Echevarne, economics director, ACI World.
“The air freight story remains the same. On the whole, North America and Asia-Pacific, which are home to airports that handle a combined 65 per cent of global air freight volumes, have achieved no gains in freight traffic for the twelve month period from September 2012 to August 2013. Nonetheless, as business confidence and international trade realise greater momentum, we are likely to see these regions move into positive territory with regards to annualised year-over-year growth," he added.