Airports need to plan for 2008 growth

THE Airports Council International saw total international freight reach 48.3 million tonnes in 2007, up 3.6 per cent. Total aircraft movements reached 68.6 million, up 2.4 per cent.

Director general Robert Aaronson, said: “We see some very good news in these figures. The remarkable spurt of growth in international passenger and freight traffic made 2007 a banner year for air transport, particularly in thriving new markets in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Even the mature markets in North America and Europe saw excellent growth in the international sector. Among the countries with the strongest increments were India, China, UAE, Vietnam, Egypt, Spain, Poland and Russia.

“At the same time, the moderate 2.4 per cent growth in total aircraft movements relative to the strong increase in passenger numbers, indicates that, as an industry, we are successfully pursuing greater system efficiencies and that the airlines are improving load factors.

“But there is also cause for caution. With a number of external factors coming into play, 2008 may present a much more sedate picture. Last quarter traffic growth rates were moderate across all regions, with the slowest growth in December, the consequence of diverse factors such as financial market instability, high fuel prices, currency devaluations and air carrier restructuring.

“We will be carefully watching the monthly traffic results during the first half of 2008 to see if persistent economic and business trends are developing that could have a lasting impact on demand. In a potentially volatile environment, it is all the more critical for airports, air navigation service suppliers and airlines to work closely together to anticipate real growth needs and plan accordingly for a sustainable future.”

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