INTERNATIONAL. Global international passenger traffic surged by +7.3% year-on-year in October 2017, a +0.8% increase on the previous month, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Air Transport Monthly Monitor.
Besides Europe and Latin America, all other regions posted an acceleration in growth. Asia Pacific remained the fastest-growing region, demonstrating strong growth in international traffic. It was the only region to post a double-digit increase owing to its solid economic conditions. India’s domestic travel demand remained strong and recorded the biggest increase of over +20%.
Including domestic travel, world traffic rose +7.2% year-on-year in the month. After a slowdown in September due to flight disruptions caused by adverse weather, global traffic growth returned to solid levels experienced in August 2017.
Capacity worldwide increased by +6.2% year-on-year in October 2017, +0.9% higher than the previous month’s growth (+5.3%). ICAO expects capacity to have expanded by around +6.3% in November 2017 based on the same level of passenger traffic demand.
ICAO Top 15 Airports
The top 15 airports by passenger numbers reported a collective gain of +4.2% year-on-year. Due to the flight disruption caused by Typhoon Lan, Tokyo Haneda was the only airport within the top 15 to post a decline in traffic (-0.7%). Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport overtook Beijing Capital International Airport in top place, despite modest growth of +0.9%. Istanbul Atatürk Airport recorded the strongest increase (+9.8%), followed by Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (+8.3%).
The top 15 airports ranked by aircraft departures reported an increase of +1% year-on-year. Airports in North America continued to be affected by hurricanes with four posting operational declines. The largest drop was experienced at Denver International Airport (-2.7%). London Heathrow experienced a decline of -0.2%. Chicago O’Hare International Airport remained in top position with moderate growth of +1%.
ICAO Top 15 Airline Groups
The top 15 airline groups, ranked by revenue passenger-kilometres (RPK), accounted for 48% of world total RPK in October 2017, growing by +5.6% year-on-year. This increase was -1.6% lower than the world average on scheduled services.All top 15 airline groups posted year-on-year increases, with the exception of Qatar Airways. American Airlines took top position after experiencing a decline in September due to weather-related flight disruption. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines ranked second and third, growing +4.1% and +1.7% respectively. Southwest Airlines remained at ninth place with a rise of +4.5%. Air Canada continued to record the strongest growth across North American airlines in the top 15 and ranked fourteenth.
Lufthansa continued to record the highest growth across the leaderboard (+12.3%) owing to the strong performance of the group’s point-to-point services. Other European airlines grew at different pace while holding their positions from the previous month.
Asia/Pacific airline growth remained solid. China Southern, Air China and China Eastern ranked eighth, tenth and eleventh with increases of +10.5%, 8.1% and +8.2%, respectively.
The two Middle Eastern airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, posted diverging trends, +3.2% and -1%, and ranked seventh and fifteenth, respectively.