INTERNATIONAL. Airports worldwide handled -5% fewer passengers in June 2009 compared to June 2008, Airports Council International (ACI) reported today. The drop was an improvement on the -8% figure recorded by ACI airports in May.

International passenger traffic fell by -7.7% while domestic traffic globally dipped -2.5% in the month.

Overall results for the first six months of 2009 remain well below results for the same period in 2008 – when air travel was climbing. But ACI also noted that “the declining passenger curve is softening”.

ACI Director Economics Andreas Schimm said: “In all six regions, the worldwide traffic growth percentages in June are less negative than the results for the first half of the year, which is a positive sign of improvement and a possible indicator that the beginnings of a more durable turnaround are in the making.”

Global airport passenger traffic dipped -5% in June, with international traffic down -7.7%

He added: “But persistent negative factors, including ongoing economic uncertainty, tight financial markets, concerns about a global health threat, and geopolitical disruption in some nations, are likely to restrain the prospects of a rapid rebound. In May, airports saw how quickly the H1N1 virus undercut demand with lingering effects in June, and as always the industry remains vigilant yet vulnerable when it comes to external factors that impact our business. As a result, it is unlikely that we will recover the flat growth rate before the fourth quarter of the year.”

The regional breakdown of passenger traffic in June, in the year to date and over the past 12 months

The Latin America-Caribbean market has been the hardest hit by the H1N1 virus, with international traffic down -14.9% for June. The drop in Mexico’s traffic pulled down the overall regional rate for the first half of the year (-10.6%), negating robust growth registered at airports across Brazil in June. The fear of the virus’ spread was also a determining factor in poor international traffic results in the Asia Pacific markets (-11.7%) and in North America (-8.7%) in June.

On the positive side, Middle East international traffic rose by +4% in the half, with the added boost of strong performance in June (+6.8%). The largest first half growth was reported by Beirut (+29%), which is seeing a revival of tourism and trade boosting its economy, and international traffic growth in the period was led by Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait, and Sharjah.

Although international traffic in Asia Pacific fell -9% in the first half, domestic traffic in the region rose by a solid +3.9% for the first six months, profiting from a strong increase of +7.2% in June. Of the 21 airports that grew more than +5% in the first half of the year, nine are in China, and they report growth mainly in domestic traffic.

In June alone, in addition to China, Jakarta and Manila had very strong results, again driven by domestic demand; in contrast both Hong Kong and Japan reported severe drops linked to the H1N1 virus. In Africa, key tourism markets (South Africa and Egypt) showed significant improvement in the month relative to the year-to-date results.

In North America in June, only one US airport, Charlotte, reported positive growth (+0.2%), and domestic traffic was down by -6.1% in the region. In Europe (-9% domestic; -7% international), all airports remained negative in the month except for Stockholm, Zürich and Rome, where domestic numbers rose.

How passenger traffic has performed month by month over the past year


ACI appoints key management personnel – 01/07/09

ACI Europe elects Schiphol Group COO as President – 17/06/09

European airport traffic falls -4.8% in April – 10/06/09

Countdown to 2009 Trinity Forum continues – 05/06/09