INTERNATIONAL. Global passenger traffic growth slowed markedly in April compared with earlier months, said Airports Council International (ACI) yesterday.

International traffic, which in previous months buoyed overall traffic results, grew by a modest +2%, and domestic traffic fell by -5.4% year-on-year.

“This drop reflects the impact of slowing economic growth and high fuel prices on airline fares and consumer confidence,” said ACI. “The largest domestic market, North America, was down by -13% as a result of flight cancellations (American Airlines’ mandatory groundings), ongoing route reduction and carrier consolidation, and the absence of Easter holiday travel (in March in 2008 and in April in 2007).

A modest April but it’s a case of ‘so far so good’ for international passenger traffic in 2008

The figures echo those of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which said last weekthat year-on-year international passenger demand grew by a modest +3% in April.

In both cases it should be noted that the impact of an early Easter holiday in 2008 will have reduced comparative year-on-year traffic growth. For international traffic – the key driver of travel retail – the numbers may be modest compared with recent months but they still represent year-on-year growth. The whole industry would settle for a similarly muted pattern for the remainder of 2008.

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