January's Asia Pacific growth was enough to influence global air passenger figures, says ACI
- BTN News
- Friday, 17 March 2017
The latest Airports Council International data shows high traffic growth at the end of 2016 continued into January 2017.
Passenger traffic in January 2017 grew 7.7 per cent compared to the same month last year, boosted by the timing of the Chinese New Year.
Many airports across China and other parts of Asia experienced a surge in passenger traffic compared to the previous year, when the Chinese New Year was celebrated in February. While lower fares continued to act as a stimulus, holiday travel in January also was affected by the Gregorian New Year falling on a weekend.
International travel continued to post relatively higher growth than domestic travel, with increases of 9.4 and 6.5 per cent respectively in January. Except for Africa, where remnants of the Nigerian recession persist and where weak transport demand in Northern Africa continues, all regions reported strong gains in passenger traffic.
Most of the passenger traffic figure stemmed from double-digit growth in the Asia-Pacific region, with gains of 11.5 per cent for January.
Both Chinese and Indian airports contributed. Guangzhou and Shanghai, two of the largest Chinese commercial airports, experienced growth rates in total passenger traffic of 17.0 and 11.3 per cent respectively. Delhi, the busiest Indian airport, increased 21.0 per cent. The Middle East region followed with an increase of 9.3 per cent in passenger traffic.
Despite strong gains in January, there remained consistency in passenger traffic growth rates across some key emerging markets. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico remained a burgeoning market. Both Mexico City and Cancun, two of the region's busiest airports, saw passenger traffic increase 13.3 and 12.6 per cent respectively. On the other hand, Brazil remained in a weakened recessionary state and passenger traffic contracted 5.7 per cent at Sao Paulo, the country's busiest airport. Most of this drop is attributed to GRU's domestic decline, which saw passenger numbers drop 8.4 per cent.
With the UK being one of the largest aviation markets in the world, its exit from the European Union begs the question as to what impact this will have on the sector and the European single aviation market. Nonetheless, the strengthening of macroeconomic fundamentals across many European economies and the expansion of the low cost carrier business model, has allowed business in Europe to continue as usual so far. Airports in the region saw an overall increase of nine per cent in passenger traffic in January, though pockets of weakness persisted in non-European Union markets. Political strife in Turkey continued to hamper its recovery. Turkish passenger traffic at airports such as Istanbul saw traffic contract 12.6 per cent in January.
Following on the aftermath of the American election, the North American economy continued to benefit from strong consumer spending, which further fuelled gains in passenger traffic. North American passenger traffic grew 3.7 per cent, a strong gain given its mature market status.