Worldwide airport traffic in February could be even worse than "grim" January - ACI

The world's airports report that January 2009 traffic growth fell by 6% uear-on-year, international freight dropping a frightening 27% year-on-year. Airports Council International (ACI) stated the passenger figures continue the steady traffic decline of the past months.

ACI worldwide passenger numbers growth and cargo volume growth (% change year-on-year): Jan-09

More turmoil ahead

ACI Director Economics, Andreas Schimm, stated, "we must brace ourselves for further turbulent times". He added there is a significant downside risk for February 2009 figures, given the likelihood of a continuing deterioration in the global economic climate. ACI added the comparisons will be further impacted by the fact that Chinese New Year was in February last year and the leap year gave one additional working day.

Mr Schimm concluded, "we must accept that this downturn will continue for a while longer and keep looking ahead to the inevitable upswing to ensure that airports remain a firm cornerstone for rebuilding economic health".

ACI airports passenger numbers growth: Feb-08 to Jan-09

ACI stated the worldwide freight results served as a "grim reminder" that global export trade as collapsed.

ACI worldwide airports cargo volume growth (% change year-on-year): Feb-08 to Jan-09

Asian passenger traffic boosted by early Chinese New Year

Asia Pacific domestic traffic provided the only bright spot, but was bolstered by Chinese New Year travel, which fell in January this year. International traffic did not fare as well, although modest growth was seen at Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Domestic traffic, on the other hand, was strong in Beijing, Shanghai, Manila, Sydney, and Bangkok and several smaller Chinese airports (Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shenzhen) and "helped salvage the overall result", according to ACI.

ACI Asia Pacific airports passenger numbers growth: Feb-08 to Jan-09

Freight volumes plunge by almost one third

Asian international airport freight volumes sank 30.1% in Jan-09.

ACI Asia Pacific airports cargo volume growth (% change year-on-year): Feb-08 to Jan-09

Middle East the only region still growing

The Middle East continues to be the only region registering total traffic growth, including a 2.2% increase in international passenger traffic in Jan-09.

ACI Middle East airports passenger numbers growth: Feb-08 to Jan-09

ACI Middle East airports cargo volume growth: Feb-08 to Jan-09

Airports remain committed to their communities and long-term planning

ACI Director General, Angela Gittens, stated the January results came as "no surprise", as airport activity is tied to the health of world, regional and local economies. She added that despite the current traffic slump, airports "remain committed to their community role and to the long-term planning imperative that characterises our business".

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