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Over 10% passenger growth in Asia-Pacific and Middle East in February 2016; air freight faced decline in Asia-Pacific and slower growth in Middle East

April 29, 2016 Airport No Comments Email Email

The number of passengers traveling through the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airports in February 2016 grew by +11% and +10.5% respectively. During the first two months of 2016 Asia-Pacific passenger traffic grew by +11% and the Middle East +10.1%.

February traffic was affected by the leap year month and the timing of the Chinese New Year which introduced a distortionary effect on year-over-year growth as compared to last year.

Overall, passenger traffic continued the momentum and delivered strong results in February 2016. Among the top 10 airports in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region, 4 airports reported double digit growth for the month: New Delhi (DEL) +22.8%, Seoul Incheon (ICN) +14.1%, Singapore (SIN) +11.7% and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) +10.5%.

Freight traffic painted a very different picture. The February results showed a decline of -8.1% in the Asia-Pacific and growth of +3.3% in the Middle East from last year. For the year-to-date, the decline in the Asia-Pacific was -2.2% whereas the growth in the Middle East was +5.4%.

The February freight results for the Asia-Pacific were negatively affected by the earlier timing of Chinese New Year this year. In addition, the short term distortionary boost to freight volumes a year ago during the US west coast seaport crisis, where retailers and manufacturers shifted to air transport due to seaport congestions, had exacerbated the decline in the month. The top Asia-Pacific freight hubs all suffered a decline from last year: Hong Kong (HKG) -14.9%, Shanghai (PVG) -13.1%, Incheon (ICN) -9.4%.  Despite that, Delhi (DEL) generated the highest growth of +13.7% among Asia-Pacific airports due to increase in international trade.

In the Middle East, freight traffic continued to benefit from network expansion though the pace of growth has been slowing down from last year. Within the Middle East, Doha (DOH) recorded the highest growth at +20.8%.

TABLE 1:  Airports reporting the highest traffic volume in February 2016 (with respective growth rate from last year) according to preliminary traffic data

Top 3 airports by size1
Passenger Freight
> 40M 25M to 40M 15M to 25M 5M to 15M
Beijing (PEK) +2.8% Taipei (TPE) +13.9% Kansai (KIX) +17.5 Phuket (HKT) +20.5% Hong Kong (HKG)
Dubai (DXB) +6.9% Kunming (KMG) +14.0% Xiamen (XMN) +3.8% Busan (PUS) +33.8% Dubai International (DXB ) +2.9%
Tokyo Haneda (HND) +9.0% Manila (MNL) +16.8% Seoul Gimpo (GMP) +6.5% Osaka Itami (ITM) +4.0% Shanghai Pudong (PVG) -13.1%
 Note :

1. ACI PaxFlash and FreightFlash statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60% of total passenger traffic and 70% of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.

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