ACI Strong Growth in December

IN December 2009, the ACI PaxFlash and FreightFlash traffic reports show a surge in traffic worldwide. Global airport passenger traffic rose by 5.3 per cent relative to December 2008. Both international passenger traffic (up by 5.6 per cent) and domestic traffic (up by 5.2 per cent) were boosted by strong performance across Asia Pacific (+15.7 per cent international; +14 per cent domestic). All regions saw increases, except for North America, which remained flat.
There are clear signs of renewed passenger traffic demand at many airports worldwide in this month’s results. International traffic grew faster than domestic traffic at most airports in China. Traffic in India, both domestic and international, surged in December (Delhi +32 per cent, Bangalore, +37 per cent, and Mumbai +29 per cent, with Mumbai domestic traffic increasing by 39 per cent). Similarly, traffic growth is on the mend in Russia driven by domestic traffic growth at the Moscow airports ranging from 21 to 40 per cent.
ACI World director of economics, Andreas Schimm, said: “Looking at full year 2009, global traffic results were much better than expected earlier in the year, finishing at just 2.6 per cent below 2008. Fears that third quarter traffic would decline substantially did not materialise, and the stabilisation seen provided a platform for remarkable fourth quarter growth. Even taking into account falling global traffic demand in late 2008 and the impact on Asia Pacific results in 2008 of the closure of the Bangkok airport due to a political siege, which slightly inflate the percentage growth comparison, passenger and freight results are very promising.”
Overall global figures were boosted by strong domestic traffic in China, India and Brazil where volumes surged in the second half of 2009. For the full year, traffic results highlight a split between the two largest aviation markets (North America and Europe) each of which lost more than five per cent traffic in 2009 and the continued expansion of Asia Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean and Middle East markets. Top performance results in the international category were seen at Dubai (+9.6 per cent), Kuala Lumpur (+8.8 per cent) and Istanbul (+7.3 per cent), the only airports with more than 10 million passengers per annum to register growth in 2009. Airports in Africa suffered a moderate 3.5 per cent setback for the year, mainly caused by declines in domestic traffic whereas international shrank only marginally.
Freight results show that traffic in November and December was remarkably strong, balancing the severe losses sustained in the first quarter 2009 and narrowing the gap with performance in 2008. This strong result illustrates the mounting confidence in the global economic recovery and significant pent-up demand. Nonetheless, it is too early to consider this performance as a future indicator of a sustainable economic recovery as this rebound is of a more technical than fundamental nature. For the full year, freight traffic remains below 2008 performance (-eight per cent; -2.8 per cent;
-10.3 per cent international).
Schimm added: “ACI World and ACI Europe look forward to an excellent turn-out at their 2nd annual ACI Airport Economics and Finance Conference in London, 23-24 February 2010. The situation is evolving rapidly now, and airport executives will have the opportunity to look at the ramifications of this market evolution, what it means not only in financial terms but also in terms of airport investments and future capacity.”

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