World’s airports report 'excellent' traffic results in Sep-2010

Global airport passenger traffic registered “excellent results” for Sep-2010 according to Airports Council International (ACI) which stated the month's traffic was the best monthly result so far in 2010.

ACI total passenger number growth: Sep-2009 to Sep-2010

Airports reported a 9% growth in traffic bringing total global traffic growth for the first nine months of the year to 6.5%. Performance was strong in all regions led by the Middle East (+20%) followed by Latin America/Caribbean (+15.5%). The growth in Sep-2010 occurred following total growth of 1.6% in Sep-2009 with domestic growth of 4.4% although international traffic growth was still in negative territory, declining 1.1% in Sep-2010.

IATA traffic results: Sep-2009 vs Sep-2010 growth levels



Nine months to Sep-2010

12 months to Sep-2010

International passenger




Domestic passenger




Total passenger




International freight




Domestic freight




Total freight




Large hubs lead positive results

The large international hubs were at the forefront of positive results. London Heathrow (+7.5%), Frankfurt (+10.5%), Hong Kong (+17%), Dubai (+25%), Shanghai Pudong (+36%), Munich (+11%), Singapore (+11%), Incheon (+22%), Sao Paulo (+28.5%) and Moscow Sheremetyevo (+32%) contributed to booming international travel driven by a strong return of business travel to the market and demand for long-haul travel. The figures also largely reflect the economic growth numbers reported by Brazil, China and Germany generating strong business activity and consumer confidence in emerging and export-oriented markets.

International traffic outperforms domestic

Once again international traffic (+10.5%) outperformed domestic traffic (+7.5%) with the divergence being particularly pronounced in North America where international passengers (+7.5%) grew more than double over domestic (+3.6%).

The 12-month rolling results jumped to 6% raising hopes that 2010 might finish with worldwide growth of more than 5%. The third quarter was clearly the strongest quarter in 2010 with growth of 7.5% overall driven again by international traffic (+8.5% compared with 6% domestic growth). 

Sep-2010 traffic in Africa and the Middle East benefited from the earlier Ramadan (in Aug-2010) and had robust increases of 14% and 20% in international traffic, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, growth in Europe (+7.5%) and North America (+7.6%) remained in the single digits for the month, while growth in Asia Pacific (+15.7%) and Latin America (+13.9%) increased by double digits. Latin America witnessed the strongest domestic growth (+15.5%) while Middle East (+19.9%) was the overall fastest growing market (domestic and international).

Middle East international passenger numbers growth: Sep-2009 to Sep-2010

Slowing growth in freight sector; Asia Pacific largest market

The trend of slowing growth in the freight sector continued in Sep-2010 with overall tonnage increasing 11.5%, significantly down from its peak of +28% in May-2010. On a quarterly basis freight grew by 15% in the third quarter contrasting quite strongly with growth of 24% in the first two quarters. The slowdown is slightly more pronounced in the domestic sector which only grew by a comparatively low percentage whereas international freight increased by 14%.

The fastest growing international freight market was North America (+19.0%), followed by Europe (+17.2%) and Latin America (+16.7%) although Asia Pacific was by far the largest freight market with 46% of the world’s international freight. Latin America (+13.8%) and Africa (+10.4%) were the fastest growing domestic markets although North America was the largest domestic freight market with 60% of the total market. Overall, Asia Pacific had a 40% capacity share of the total freight market at 2307.5 tonnes in the month, followed by North America (1649.9 tonnes). 

ACI total cargo volume growth: Sep-2009 to Sep-2010

General trend shows growth slowing

Like ACI, IATA has reported that almost inevitably the annual comparisons are becoming less favourable. However while passenger traffic in Sep-2010 increased 10.5% year-on-year and was 4% higher than the pre-recession peak of early 2008, cargo volumes have slipped back to pre-recession peak levels as growth slowed to 14.8% in the month. 

Looking forward and ACI stated the current results have “raised hopes that 2010 might finish with worldwide growth of over 5%”.

International Passenger and Freight Tonne Kilometers: Jul-2005 to Sep-2010

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