INTERNATIONAL. With the exception of Asia Pacific (-6.2%), international passenger traffic worldwide grew across all regions in August, according to new figures from Airports Council International (ACI).
Impaired by the sharp decline in Asia Pacific, global international traffic grew by just +0.6% in the month compared with August 2007. China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea were the countries suffering the most significant declines in Asia Pacific. Unfortunately for the travel retail sector, those travelling North Asian nationalities are of fundamental importance to the channel.
Europe (+1.2%) and North America (+2.1%) grew moderately, while Africa (+8.6%), Latin America-Caribbean (+9.3%) and the Middle East (+8.3%) managed solid growth driven by holiday season demand.
ACI’s ‘PaxFlash’ table shows the sharp softening in Asia Pacific after a period of solid growth
ACI said that international traffic growth slowed markedly in the Middle East (+8.3%) where the dominant international airport, Dubai, only saw an increase of +2.8% in August while Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Sharjah and Beirut continued to generate double-digit growth.
Domestic traffic with the exception of Latin America-Caribbean (+4%) fell sharply across the world, leading to a -4% year-on-year global decrease in August. India, hit by rising ticket prices, was hardest hurt with Delhi down -16% and Mumbai by -18%. German, UK and Spanish airports suffered the greatest domestic reductions in Europe while North America declined by -5%.
While total passenger numbers (international and domestic) were down -2% year-on-year in August, over the first eight months international traffic was still ahead by +4.2% and domestic passengers were unchanged. Total passenger numbers grew by +1.7% over the eight-month period.
ACI Director Economics Andreas Schimm commented: “The drop in international passenger numbers in Asia Pacific can be largely attributed to the effects of the Olympics on industry production and visa rules in China as well as a continued contraction in Japan.
“Demand for domestic travel has proven very elastic and price sensitive leading to significant declines in the wake of high oil prices during summer. While the effect of high oil prices may begin to fade as we head into fall, the implication of the international crisis in the financial markets for air traffic demand could be worse.”
ACI, the only worldwide association of airports, is a non-profit organisation whose prime purpose is to represent the interests of airports and to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. ACI has 580 members which operate over 1,647 airports in 175 countries and territories.
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