The market for international travel remains buoyant for the month of March. The Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific all posted double digit gains in international passenger traffic of +16.4, +14.1 and +10.9 percent respectively.
Although overall passenger traffic grew by +4.6 percent, domestic traffic showed signs of weakness for some regions for the month of March. On an aggregate basis, domestic traffic increased by +2.6 percent. With the ongoing economic slowdown across Europe, domestic passenger traffic saw a decline of -5.9 percent. However, Istanbul (IST) remains unperturbed by the European economy, as its passenger traffic grew by +23.8 percent.
Freight traffic continues to exhibit signs of weakness with an overall year over year decline of -1 percent. Every region posted decreases in the volume of freight traffic except for the Middle East, which posted gains of +8.7 percent. Amidst the global slowdown, Dubai (DXB) was still able to attain growth of +14.7 percent. The top three freight hubs in the world, Hong Kong (HKG), Memphis (MEM) and Shanghai (PVG), all experienced declines of -2.2, -1.4 and -3 percent respectively.
ACI World's Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, "With the general downturn in business activity across major economies, the result is a systemic slowdown in the volume of goods shipped by air. Other indicators reinforce this fact such as Markit's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures supplier deliveries, inventory levels and new orders. Results of the index show a decline in the first quarter with respect to the Eurozone. The international passenger, on the other hand, continues to show resilience month after month. In essence, it is the international travel markets, especially in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, that are keeping the aviation sector afloat during these uncertain times."