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Airports expect another good year after global pax traffic exceeded 5 billion in 2010

3-Aug-2011

Strong global economic growth in the latter half of 2011 is expected to propel the aviation sector to “another good year” in 2011 with strong traffic growth in 2010 and the first half of 2011 demonstrating the industry’s resilience in recovering from a downturn and resuming its historical trajectory of impressive growth, according to Airports Council International (ACI).

Still 'a lot to worry about'

However, challenges remain, with ACI World’s Director of Economics Andreas Schimm noting that even against the backdrop of growth, “there is considerable uncertainty about oil prices, concern over sovereign debt, volatility in exchange rates, and in the US, slowing growth and persistent unemployment". All told, there is a lot to worry about, particularly in the developed economies. Growth in emerging and developing nations, however, is expected by the IMF to continue at a rapid clip, giving us considerable reason for further optimism about the remainder of the year.

ACI, in its report, presented data from 1,318 airports in 157 countries, revealing the following key trends:

  • Worldwide airport passenger numbers increased by 6.6% in 2010 to 5.04 billion, registering increases in all six regions;
  • Worldwide domestic traffic increased by 5.8% while international traffic jumped by 7.7%;
  • Worldwide aircraft movements increased 1.1% to 74 million;
  • Total cargo volumes handled by airports jumped by 15.3% to 91.0 million tonnes;
  • 69% of airports worldwide registered positive passenger growth at an average of 8.6%, while 30% of airports lost traffic at an average rate of -4.1%.

ACI also provided the following traffic growth data for 2010, relative to 2009, by airport size:

  • Airports with more than 40 million passengers: +6% year-on-year;
  • Airports with 25-40 million passengers: +7.1%;
  • Airports with 15 -25 million passengers: +6.4%;
  • Airports with 5-15 million passengers: +7.4%;
  • Airports with 1-5 million passengers: +5.4%;
  • Airports with less than 1 million passengers: +7.1%.

Move over London Heathrow! Beijing Capital Airport now world's second busiest

The rankings of the world’s busiest airports for 2010 have yielded some key developments in global aviation.

Beijing Capital became the world’s second busiest airport in 2010, with passenger growth surging 13.1% to 73.9 million passengers. Beijing is now closing the gap to Atlanta which continues to be the world’s largest airport with 89.3 million passengers in 2010 (+1.5%). In reaching the number two spot, Beijing Capital leapfrogged London Heathrow, which has also dropped below Chicago O’Hare. Beijing airport was 14th globally as recently as five years ago with 41 million passengers, a figure now matched by airports in both Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Top 10 world airports by total passengers

The largest airport by international passengers was London Heathrow, followed by Paris CDG and Hong Kong.

Top 10 world airports by international passengers

Based on previously reported preliminary 2010 ACI data, the biggest improver in the Top 30 passenger traffic list for 2010 was Shanghai Pudong Airport, which surged 14 places to 20th position just behind mainland Chinese counterpart Guangzhou, which rose three places. Shanghai Pudong, which reported a 27.2% increase in passenger traffic last year, replaced Newark in the global Top 30. There were three Chinese airports among the world’s 30 largest passenger airports (four including Hong Kong), while the US had 13 airports in the top 30. Germany was the only other nation with more than one airport in the list.

Other notable performers, based on this previously reported data, included Jakarta, which jumped seven places to 16th largest and Singapore, which rose from 21st to 18th place. Dubai gained two places to 13th. Only two airports in the top 30 did not grow in 2010, Las Vegas (-2.6%) and London Heathrow (-0.2%). Charlotte (+10.4%) was the only large airport outside the Asia Pacific region and Middle East growing by more than 10%.

World’s Top 30 Airports by Passenger Numbers: 2010 (preliminary)

Airport

Passengers

% change

Rank 2010

Rank 2009

Change

Atlanta (ATL)

89,331,622

1.5

1

1

-

Beijing (PEK)

73,891,801

13

2

3

+1

Chicago (ORD)

66,665,390

3.3

3

4

+1

London (LHR)

65,884,143

-0.2

4

2

-2

Tokyo Haneda (HND)

64,069,098

3.4

5

5

-

Los Angeles (LAX)

58,915,100

4.2

6

7

+1

Paris (CDG)

58,167,062

0.4

7

6

-1

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

56,905,066

1.6

8

8

-

Frankfurt (FRA)

53,009,221

4.1

9

9

-

Denver (DEN)

52,211,242

4.1

10

10

-

Hong Kong (HKG)

50,410,819

10.6

11

13

+2

Madrid (MAD)

49,786,202

2.8

12

11

-1

Dubai (DXB)

47,180,628

15.4

13

15

+2

New York (JFK)

46,495,876

1.4

14

12

-2

Amsterdam (AMS)

45,211,749

3.8

15

14

-1

Jakarta (CGK)

43,981,022

18.4

16

23

+7

Bangkok (BKK)

42,784,967

5.6

17

16

-1

Singapore (SIN)

42,038,777

13

18

21

+3

Guangzhou (CAN)

40,975,253

10.6

19

22

+3

Shanghai (PVG)

40,582,356

27.2

20

34

+14

Houston (IAH)

40,475,058

1.2

21

18

-3

Las Vegas (LAS)

39,397,359

-2.6

22

17

-5

San Francisco (SFO)

39,254,634

5.1

23

20

-3

Phoenix (PHX)

38,552,409

1.9

24

19

-5

Charlotte (CLT)

38,143,078

10.4

25

24

-1

Rome (FCO)

36,228,490

7.4

26

27

+1

Sydney (SYD)

35,992,164

7.6

27

28

+1

Miami (MIA)

35,698,025

5.3

28

25

-3

Orlando (MCO)

34,877,507

3.5

29

26

-3

Munich (MUC)

34,721,605

6.2

30

30

-

Big shifts towards emerging markets  

The 2010 traffic data revealed some distinct regional trends, with traffic growth in emerging markets leading the way. 

The Latin America-Caribbean region, fueled by strong growth in Brazil, steered all regions with a 13.2% year-on-year growth rate. The Middle East and Asia Pacific regions also experienced double-digit growth, with Africa just below them at 9.5%. In the Middle East, liberalised bilateral agreements and large increases in fleet capacity drove growth, particularly in the UAE and Qatar. In the Asia Pacific, India’s traffic grew nearly 15% and China’s nearly 14%, as the region once again increased its global market share, according to ACI. Increases in the mature North American and European markets were 2% and 4.3% respectively although they remain the number two and two regions for market share, although Asia Pacific is rapidly closing the gap.

2010 airport traffic summary by region

A look at the 25 fastest growing airports also reveals the shift in growth patterns. Of the 25 fastest growing markets, only one was in North America, at Milwaukee. Europe had eight airports in the top 25 in 2010, with all but one of these in Eastern Europe. Istanbul was the world’s fastest growing airport, with growth of 74.7% year-on-year to 11.6 million passengers in 2010. Latin America and Asia Pacific both had six airports in the top 25 fastest growing airports list, while the Middle East had three and Africa one.

Top 25 fastest growing airports in 2010 (airports with more than 5 million pax) 

Hong Kong eclipses Memphis as world’s busiest cargo hub

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), meanwhile, was the world’s busiest cargo hub in 2010, ending Memphis International Airport’s 18-year reign at the top of the world rankings. HKIA’s rise to the top reflects surging exports from China’s Pearl River Delta, while Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific became the world’s largest international air cargo carrier last year, overtaking Korean Air.

HKIA's cargo volumes soared 23.2% year-on-year in 2010 to 4.17 million tonnes. Memphis, FedEx Corp’s main hub, reported a creditable 5.9% increase in cargo traffic to 3.9 million tonnes last year. Memphis has been the world’s busiest cargo airport since at least 1992. In 2009, Memphis Airport’s tonnage exceeded Hong Kong’s by slightly under 312,000 tonnes.

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority President Larry Cox, in an interview with The Commercial Appeal earlier this year, confirmed that Memphis’ 18-year reign as the world's top cargo airport has ended, stating: “Nothing lasts forever.” Mr Cox stated the change represents a "global shift", adding that Hong Kong would have likely overtaken Memphis a couple of years earlier, had the global recession not slowed China's economic momentum. Separately, an AAHK spokesman commented: "The last five years, it's not been a question of if it was going to happen, but when. It took longer than we thought."

Worldwide cargo demand rose strongly by 15.3% last year, according to ACI. The freight recovery was “more coherent and comprehensive” than the passenger segment, according to the airports body. All regions showed a robust double-digit increase, led by Asia Pacific (+18.5%) and Europe (+15.5%). As previously reported by ACI, international freight was the driver of the air freight recovery as total tonnage jumped by 20.5% compared with 2009.

Rounding out to top 5 airports by cargo was Shanghai, Seoul Incheon and Anchorage, which reported a 36.6% jump in cargo volumes in the year.

Top 10 world airports by cargo (freight and mail)

Other than the change at the top of the cargo rankings, very little changed among the Top 30 cargo hubs last year. Paris CGD regained four places, to come in as sixth largest, while Louisville dropped four places to tenth.

Evolution of the world’s Top 10 cargo airports: 2001 to 2010


2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

1

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Memphis

Hong Kong

2

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Memphis

3

Los Angeles

Anchorage

Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo

Anchorage

Anchorage

Anchorage

Shanghai Pudong

Shanghai Pudong

Shanghai Pudong

4

Tokyo

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Anchorage

Anchorage

Tokyo

Incheon

Shanghai Pudong

Incheon

Incheon

Incheon

5

Seoul

Tokyo

Anchorage

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul

Tokyo

Incheon

Anchorage

Paris

Anchorage

6

New York

Miami

Seoul

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Paris

Shanghai Pudong

Paris

Paris

Anchorage

Paris

7

Anchorage

Frankfurt

Singapore

Paris

Paris

Frankfurt

Paris

Tokyo

Frankfurt

Louisville

Frankfurt

8

Frankfurt

Paris

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Los Angeles

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Tokyo

Dubai

Dubai

9

Singapore

Singapore

Paris

Miami

Singapore

Shanghai Pudong

Louisville

Louisville

Louisville

Frankfurt

Tokyo Narita

10

Miami

Louisville

Miami

Singapore

Miami

Singapore

Singapore

Miami

Singapore

Tokyo

Louisville

Beijing, which became the world’s second busiest passenger airport last year, actually dropped two places in the cargo rankings in 2010 to 16th, as per previously released preliminary ACI data for the year, while Shanghai Pudong remained the third busiest (with a 27.1% surge in volumes last year). Guangzhou remained 21st and Shenzhen rose three places to 27th busiest, and reported the fastest cargo growth in 2010 among the top 30 freight airports, with growth of 33.6% year-on-year. Excluding Hong Kong, China had four airports in the top 30 list, behind the US which had 10. Atlanta, meanwhile, replaced Dallas/Fort Worth in this year’s top 30 cargo airports. 

World’s Top 30 Airports by Cargo Tonnage: 2010 (preliminary)

Airport

Cargo Metric Tonnes

% change

Rank 2010

Rank 2009

Change

Hong Kong (HKG)

4,168,394

23.2

1

2

+1

Memphis (MEM)

3,916,937

5.9

2

1

-1

Shanghai Pudong (PVG)

3,227,914

27.1

3

3

-

Incheon (ICN)

2,684,500

16.1

4

4

-

Anchorage (ANC)

2,578,396

33.1

5

5

-

Paris (CDG)

2,399,067

16.8

6

10

+4

Frankfurt (FRA)

2,275,106

20.5

7

8

+1

Dubai (DXB)

2,270,498

17.8

8

7

-1

Tokyo Narita (NRT)

2,167,843

17.1

9

9

-

Louisville (SDF)

2,166,226

11.1

10

6

-4

Singapore (SIN)

1,841,004

10.9

11

11

-

Miami (MIA)

1,835,793

17.9

12

12

-

Los Angeles (LAX)

1,810,345

15.5

13

13

-

Taipei (TPE)

1,767,075

30.1

14

15

+1

London Heathrow (LHR)

1,551,405

15

15

16

+1

Beijing (PEK)

1,549,126

5

16

14

-2

Amsterdam (AMS)

1,538,135

16.8

17

17

-

Chicago (ORD)

1,424,077

30

18

18

-

New York JFK (JFK)

1,343,114

17.4

19

19

-

Bangkok (BKK)

1,310,146

25.3

20

20

-

Guangzhou (CAN)

1,144,458

19.8

21

21

-

Indianapolis (IND)

947,279

5.2

22

22

-

Newark (EWR)

854,750

9.6

23

24

+1

Shenzhen (SZX)

809,363

33.6

24

27

+3

Tokyo Haneda (HND)

804,995

1.9

25

23

-2

Osaka (KIX)

759,278

24.7

26

26

-

Luxembourg (LUX)

705,370

12.2

27

25

-2

Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

697,015

15.6

28

29

+1

Mumbai (BOM)

671,238

18.5

29

30

+1

Atlanta (ATL)

659,129

17

30

31

+1

Hong Kong Airport was the also the largest airport by freight excluding mail in 2010, followed by Incheon, Shanghai, Dubai and Frankfurt.

Top 10 world airports by international freight (metric tonnes, mail not included) 

Aircraft movements increase at slower pace than traffic and passenger growth

While passenger numbers increased 6.6% and total cargo increased 15.3% in 2010, total aircraft movements only increased by 1.1% to 74.5 aircraft movements in the year.

Aircraft movements increased the most in the Middle East (+7.7%), Latin America-Caribbean (+7.0%), Africa (+4.4%) and the Asia Pacific (+5.7%) while movements continued to decline in Europe (-0.5%) and North America (-1.4%), according to Airports Council International.

Atlanta Hartsfield maintained its position as the world’s busiest airport by aircraft movements, despite a 2.1% year-on-year decline in movements, followed by Chicago and Los Angeles. Eight of the top 10 places are held by US airports, although China's Beijing Capital is rising up the rankings, gaining two places with a 6% increase in movements last year to finish eighth. Paris CDG meanwhile slid three places to 10th in 2010 as movements fell 4.8%.

Top 10 world airports by aircraft movements

Based on preliminary data, other notable movers were New York JFK, which dropped from 17th to 21st. Detroit and Miami each gained three places to 14th and 24th, respectively, while Los Angeles Van Nuys dropped out of the global top 30, replaced by Tokyo Haneda Airport, which came in 29th.

World’s Top 30 Airports by Aircraft Movements: 2010 (preliminary)

Airport

Movements

% change

Rank 2010

Rank 2009

Change

Atlanta (ATL)

950,119

-2.1

1

1

-

Chicago (ORD)

882,614

6.4

2

2

-

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

652,261

2.1

3

3

-

Denver (DEN)

630,089

3.8

4

4

-

Los Angeles (LAX)

575,835

5.3

5

6

+1

Houston (IAH)

531,347

-1.3

6

5

-1

Charlotte (CLT)

529,101

3.9

7

9

+2

Beijing (PEK)

517,582

6.0

8

10

+2

Las Vegas (LAS)

505,591

-1.1

9

8

-1

Paris (CDG)

499,997

-4.8

10

7

-3

Frankfurt (FRA)

464,432

0.3

11

13

+2

Philadelphia (PHL)

460,779

-2.5

12

11

-1

London Heathrow (LHR)

454,883

-2.5

13

12

-1

Detroit (DTW)

452,616

4.6

14

17

+3

Phoenix (PHX)

450,293

-1.5

15

14

-1

Minneapolis (MSP)

434,120

0.4

16

16

-

Madrid (MAD)

433,683

-0.3

17

15

-2

Toronto (YYZ)

418,051

2.6

18

20

+2

Amsterdam (AMS)

402,374

-1.1

19

21

+2

Newark (EWR)

401,930

-2.2

20

18

-2

New York JFK (JFK)

397,419

-4.1

21

17

-4

Munich (MUC)

389,939

-1.7

22

23

+1

San Francisco (SFO)

387,248

2.0

23

24

+1

Miami (MIA)

376,208

7.1

24

27

+3

Phoenix (DVT)

367,651

-8.6

25

22

-3

Salt Lake City (SLC)

361,954

-2.6

26

25

-1

New York LaGuardia (LGA)

360,544

1.9

27

26

-1

Boston (BOS)

352,641

2.1

28

30

+2

Tokyo Haneda (HND)

342,804

2.1

29

33

+4

Mexico City (MEX)

339,898

-2.3

30

29

-1


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