Global passenger traffic at airports grew by almost 4% in Feb-2011, with international up by 4.5% and domestic by 3.4%, according to Airports Council International. Freight volumes stagnated for the month reflecting a decrease of 3.3% in domestic freight traffic.
ACI total passenger number growth: Feb-2010 to Feb-2011
North African airport traffic slumps amid political unrest
North African airports were heavily hit by political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia in Feb-2011 resulting in 21% slump in the Africa region, with drastic reductions seen for Cairo (-54%), Sharm El Sheikh (-71%), Tunis (-31%). Bahrain also recorded implications of the social unrest with a 15% passenger decline.
Passenger numbers growth and cargo volume growth by region: Feb-2011
"The impact of the social and political crisis in North Africa on overall global traffic is limited, yet for the individual airports that were accustomed to rapid growth, it represents a very severe situation as both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues plunge,” ACI Director Economics Andreas Schimm commented.
The drop of tourism-related traffic in North Africa appears to have boosted results at other leisure destinations, benefitting alternative destinations in Spain and Turkey. Sharp growth was reported by Fuerteventura (+34%), Sevilla (+20%), Tenerife (+13%), Lanzarote and Gran Canaria (+11%) and Antalya (+20%).
Japan situation to negatively impact Mar-2011 traffic
ACI also noted the negative and considerable effect on traffic created by the earthquake/tsunami and following nuclear situation in Mar-2011.
"While the situation in North Africa remains fragile with the focus shifting to Libya, the effects of the natural and nuclear disaster in Japan that occurred in March will have a far bigger impact on March results both in the Asia-Pacific region as well as depressing global passenger numbers,” Mr Schimm stated.
Further consolidation of growth in Feb-2011
Overall, Feb-2011 saw further consolidation of growth. In light of 6.8% growth during Feb-2010, the 3.9% global growth in Feb-2011, despite the Africa decrease, remains positive. Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East show homogeneous growth rates of 5-6% whereas North America's passenger figures expanded by 2.8 %.
International traffic grew faster than domestic in North America (+3.4%), Europe (+6.1%) and Asia Pacific (+7.7%). The rolling 12 months figure remains high at 6.4% just slightly below the peak of 6.9% reached in Jan-2011.
ACI stated the freight situation is “more sobering” as there was no growth in February globally. The stagnation comes relative to a 22% increase in Feb-2010.
ACI total cargo volume growth: Feb-2010 to Feb-2011
Asia Pacific reported a decline of 3.4% and a 3.9% decline in the Middle East was recorded. While the decline in Asia Pacific was mostly caused by domestic freight decreases, Middle East freight is international only. Globally, however, international freight continued to expand by 1.6%.
Commenting on the results, Mr Schimm noted that “it would be misleading to interpret these figures as a precursor to a cooling world economy. Growth rates were exceptionally high during the first half of the 2010 reference period, and the situation is already positive if the volumes reached then can be upheld."
ACI worldwide traffic results: Feb-2011
ACI passenger traffic summary: Feb-2011
ACI freight traffic summary: Feb-2011
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