Preliminary results point to an overall increase of 3.9% in global passenger traffic in 2012 as compared to the previous year.
While the world's top international airports in North America and Europe posted more modest gains in passenger traffic, air transport markets in emerging economies continue to show buoyant activity. Double digit growth rates in passenger traffic were observed in Istanbul (IST; 20.2%), Jakarta (CGK; 14.4%), Dubai (DXB; 13.2%) and Bangkok (BKK; 10.6%) in 2012. Moderate growth of 2.5% was observed in December of 2012 as domestic passenger markets recoiled in Europe, Latin America, Africa and North America. Conversely, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific persistently post strong gains in international passenger traffic with growth of 12.3% and 9.0% respectively for the month of December.
An overall decline of -1.3% was registered in air freight for the month of December. Europe, Latin America-Caribbean, North America and Asia-Pacific experienced declines of -2.7%, -2.6%, -1.5% and -1.2% respectively. While the world's top air freight hubs, Hong Kong (HKG) and Memphis (MEM), achieved growth of 2.2% and 2.5% respectively, 57% of the top thirty airports in terms of air freight volume were in decline in 2012.
ACI World's Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, "Although we saw slightly lower year-over-year growth rates in passenger traffic in 2012 from month to month as compared to 2011, the overall result for the year was in line with ACI forecasts, which factored in the slowdown in certain European and North American markets. Air freight had mixed results throughout 2012 with some months posting modest gains while other months posted declines. Amid the significant downside risks in the Euro area and the fiscal deadlock in the United States throughout the year, growth in air freight came to an overall halt in 2012. As the global economy and international trade picks up steam we are optimistic to see higher growth rates for both passenger and freight traffic in 2013."Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide association of airports, has 573 member airport authorities, which operate over 1,751 airports in 174 countries.