Global passenger traffic increased by 4.2% year over year for the month of June while international and domestic traffic posted growth rates of 5% and 3.6% respectively, according to the latest figures released from airports Council International (ACI).
Accumulated passenger traffic across the world’s major airports grew by 5.7% for the first half of 2015, showing relative resilience considering the economic uncertainty from the Greek debt crisis and the geopolitical risks stemming from ongoing events in Ukraine, the Middle East and West Africa, says ACI. The fears of a regional and global spillover effect from these events have been contained with minimal repercussions on air transport.
From a regional perspective, ACI forecasts that growth in air traffic is likely to be in the realm of 5% once again for 2015 as a whole.
Year-to-date by Region
Passenger numbers in North America continue to report growth above trend. Considering the maturity of the North American aviation market, growth of 4.2% is coinciding with the ongoing resurgence of the United States economy. Chicago (ORD), the region’s second busiest airport, has seen its domestic traffic grow by over 10% in the first half of 2015. Atlanta (ATL), the world’s busiest airport, increased by 4.4% on a year-to-date basis in 2015. If the airport continues to grow at this rate for the rest of the year, it will reach the 100 million passenger mark by the end of the year.
Despite the ongoing weakness in the economies of Brazil and Argentina, the Latin American-Caribbean region has achieved growth of 5.6% for the first half of 2015. The increases in traffic are largely attributed to the burgeoning domestic markets of Mexico and Colombia. Both Mexico City (MEX) and Bogota (BOG) experienced double-digit gains in passenger traffic of 12.4% and 11.3% respectively up to June 2015. On the other hand, São Paulo (GRU), Brazil’s busiest airport, experienced no change with respect to year-over-year growth over the same period.
The Euro area continues to bounce back with passenger traffic rising by 4.6% on a year-to-date basis. Most of the major airports that were crippled by the earlier days of the Euro area crisis saw a revival in 2014. Madrid (MAD), Spain’s busiest airport which experienced a contraction in passenger numbers in 2013, recorded growth of 11.4% in the first half of this year. Istanbul (IST) continues to climb the rankings among the world’s busiest airports with growth of 6.4% on the year, although the growth is slowing with respect to previous years. London-Heathrow (LHR), the region’s busiest airport, posted gains of 1.3% in the first half.
Middle Eastern airports continue to achieve the highest growth among all regions at 8.8% for the first half. Doha (DOH) and Abu Dhabi (AUH), the region’s second and third ranked airports, grew by 14.4% and 17.3% respectively. Dubai (DXB), the region’s busiest airport and the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, grew by 10.4% in the first half of 2015.
Asia-Pacific airports reported overall growth in passenger traffic of 8.3% for the first half of the year, with international traffic up by 9.8% and domestic traffic up by 7.5%. Beijing (PEK) grew by 6% in the first 6 months of 2015, which is higher than year-over-year growth rates in 2014. Shanghai (PVG), the second busiest Chinese airport, posted double-digit growth of over 18% over the same period. The number two ranked airport in Asia-Pacific and Japan’s busiest airport, Haneda (HND), grew by 4.8% from January to June 2015 as compared to the previous year.
African air passenger traffic continues to recover with modest growth of 2.3% in for the first half of 2015. Growth prospects remain limited in the short term. Johannesburg (JNB), Africa’s busiest airport, ended the first half with 2.7% gains in passenger numbers. Cairo (CAI), North Africa’s busiest airport and gateway to popular tourist destinations, saw passenger traffic jump back by 7.8% in the first two quarters of 2015 as compared to the previous year.