Global passenger traffic increased 4.6% in the month of May. The growth in passenger traffic was slightly below the past 12 month growth trend of 6%. Airports also reported an increase of 4.1% in international passenger traffic and an increase of 5.2% in domestic traffic. Accumulated total passenger traffic growth for the first five months of 2016 was a 5.9% year-over-year increase.
At the regional level the results were mixed. The Middle East continued to lead passenger traffic growth with a robust 11.4% year-over-year increase, driven by international passenger growth of 11.8%. Doha (DOH), the region's second busiest airport after Dubai (DXB), saw traffic leap by over 23%.
Asia-Pacific followed in second place with a growth of 7.2%. The region benefited from the buoyant traffic gains in India. With strong economic fundamentals, the sub-continent continued to be one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. Delhi (DEL) grew 21% in May as compared to the previous year.
European airports experienced more moderate gains in passenger traffic, with a 3.6% year-over-year increase. The slight weakening of traffic growth levels in the near term came after the April terrorist attacks at Brussel (BRU) which had a spillover effect across European hubs.
North America outperformed its mature market expectations over the course of the year. Many of the region's airports and airlines had the capacity to accommodate the continued growth in demand. Both domestic and international traffic grew at similar rates at 4.5% and 4.3% respectively. Overall passenger traffic grew 4.4% for the month.
The Latin America-Caribbean region continued to suffer from economic malaise. Airport passenger traffic grew 0.2%. Growth in international passenger traffic was barely able to offset a 1% decline in domestic passenger traffic. The region's largest economy, Brazil, continued to face recessionary conditions.
Finally, Africa reported a 4.8% decline in total passenger traffic, resulting mainly from the decline of 9.8% in international passenger traffic, particularly of key tourist destinations where aviation security remained a concern.
With the backdrop of sluggish global trade growth, global air freight markets painted a less optimistic picture. While the industry was vulnerable to the macroeconomic context, it was also competing with other modes of delivery as freight load factors continued to exhibit weakness.
The Middle East reported moderate growth in total freight (+3.3%) for May, followed by Europe (+2.7%) and Asia-Pacific (+1.4%). On the other hand, North America, Latin America-Caribbean and Africa reported air freight had declined 1.5%, 3.9% and 5.7% respectively. At the individual airport level, 8 of the top 20 largest air freight hubs reported declines in air freight volumes, including Hong Kong (HKG, -1.1%), Frankfurt (FRA, -1.7%) and Beijing (PEK, -5.1%).