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NEWS Last modified on December 14, 2015

Global passenger traffic up in October despite regional decline in Africa

Passenger numbers at the world's airports increased by 6% in October, according to the latest traffic figures by ACI.

International passenger traffic grew by 6.3% and domestic by 5.8%, reports Airports Council International.

The latest monthly upturn continues the upward trend in global traffic and means that 2015 is set to be a good year for airports across the planet with global passenger throughput up 6.1% in the year to date. 

According to ACI, 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, says ACI.

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, reports ACI. 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, says ACI.

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 São 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.

ACI notes that 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.


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