Airports Council International (ACI) World reported global airport passenger traffic up 6.4% in October 2017 compared to October 2016, significantly higher than the September comparison figure of 5.1% growth. Similarly, passenger traffic grew 6.4% year-to-date as of October 2017. Based on the trend, we can expect the global passenger market to achieve an annual growth rate of 6.5% in 2017, about the same rate as 2016.
Freight volume gains have maintained momentum after a rapid increase during Q2 and Q3, reaching +5.3% year-over-year. Air freight numbers will likely exceed 7% global growth by the end of 2017, almost double 2016’s 4%.
Despite the strong rise on the global scale, there were signs of moderating growth across several regions since September. Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe showed significant traffic growth for the month compared to the same month last year, but North America, Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East experienced more modest gains. The former reached +8.2%, +8.1% and +7.5% respectively, while the latter posted figures of +4.3%, +3.6% and +3.3%, respectively.
As in September, the impact of the 2017 hurricane season affected North America and Latin America-Caribbean. As well, growth was reduced in the Middle East amid continuing tensions in the Region, including air route restrictions on Qatar Airlines’ operations into and out of Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH). DOH itself recorded a drop of 18.3% in September’s passenger traffic compared to the previous year and a drop of 14.3% in October. Year-to-date through October 2017 the airport experienced a reduction of 2.9% in passenger traffic. On the other hand, DOH’s freight volumes continued to increase, at the rate of 16.7% year-to-date.
In Latin America-Caribbean and North America, Puerto Rico’s passenger traffic remained in negative territory in October (-2.3%), but the Dominican Republic (+3.2%) and South Florida’s major airports (ranging from +6.3% to +18.2%) posted growth rates on a year-over-year basis.
Strong global recovery in industrial production and trade continues to fuel key air freight markets. Africa continued to excel with an international freight volume increase of 15.4%, achieving a year-to-date rate of 13.5%.
Europe and North America followed behind Africa, achieving 7.6% and 7.4% increases in volume respectively. Latin America-Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East posted increases of 6.1%, 2.6% and 1.3% respectively.
On a year-to-date basis, all regions except Latin America-Caribbean reached growth rates of more than 7%; even Latin America-Caribbean posted a robust 4.3% growth. At this point, we can surmise that 2017 will prove to have been a particularly good year for freight traffic.