ACI reports that global passenger traffic delivered strong year-over-year growth in January and February, up +6.9% and +9.2% respectively, although traffic growth moderated in March, but still grew by +5.7%. As a result, total passenger growth for the first quarter of 2016 was +7.3%, led by international traffic, up +8.2%, with domestic passenger growth up +6.7%.
By region, total passenger traffic grew by +10.4% in the Middle East, followed Europe (+7%), Asia-Pacific (+6.7%), Latin America-Caribbean (+4.1%) and North America (+3.9%). The demand for air travel was depressed in Africa (-3.4%).
Total passenger traffic has increased by more than 6% for the twelve month period, testifying to the strong resilience of demand for air transport despite the observed volatility and uncertainty with respect to economic conditions in various parts of the world, reports ACI.
The United States maintained momentum growing at 3.9% in March, while China, the second largest aviation market, grew by 3.5%, mainly due to international traffic, which was up by +13%.
Passenger traffic growth in Asia continues to be highly stimulated by air transport developments in India, which grew 19.1% in March and showed 17.8% growth year-to-date for the major airports in the country.
Japan remains almost flat at +0.9% with slight growth in international passenger traffic (+3.1%).
In Europe, the three largest aviation markets, UK, Germany and Spain, grew by 7.7%, 4.6% and 14.6% respectively.
Brazil and Russia are the only two major markets recording declines in total passenger traffic (-7.1% and -2.3% respectively) for major commercial airports, demonstrating the ongoing economic difficulties in the two BRICS constituents.
In the Latin America and Caribbean region, the traffic decline in Brazil is offset by strong growth in Mexico (+11.7%) and Colombia (+9.5%).
Freight volumes also fell in the period in the Latin America-Caribbean region, and were down -3.8% in March. Freight volume at Brazil’s Sao Paulo, GRU was down by -11.3%), but other major air freight hubs recorded substantial declines in air freight as well, including Bogota (BOG, -5.1%), Lima (LIM, -13.4%) and San Juan (SJU, -5.1%).