Global passenger markets remain buoyant with growth of almost 5% year over year for the first half of 2011 and for June 2012. While certain domestic markets have slowed in North America (+0.8%), Europe (-0.3%) and Africa (-2.4%), international passenger traffic has shown strong growth in June. Africa (+19.2%) and the Middle East (+13.9%) recovered from the sharp declines in traffic in 2011 brought on by the Arab Spring. Asia-Pacific also posted double-digit gains in international passenger traffic at +12.3%.
With business confidence in a fragile state, freight traffic has been relatively sluggish in the first half of 2012 declining by -1%. Nevertheless, an overall gain of +1% year over year was observed in June 2012. While leading freight hubs in Asia rebounded from several months of traffic declines, many key freight hubs in North America continue to experience declines in freight traffic. Although Memphis (MEM), North America’s major freight airport, achieved growth of +3%, eight of the top ten major freight airports in the United States saw declines in traffic. Domestic freight volumes in Europe were also stagnant with a decline of -1%. Conversely, freight traffic increased in the Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean by +9.2% +3.7% respectively.
ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, “Whilst overall growth is relatively uniform and stable across passenger markets from month to month, the freight market is more heterogeneous across various regions. Burgeoning markets in the Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean are less encumbered by the slowdown that is sweeping across other regions. Though the economic outlook is ominous for many major economies, emerging markets continue to be fuelled by their strong domestic demand, and persevere despite these downside risks.”