Monday, August 09, 2010

Air Traffic Off in 2009

The Airports Council International released its final report on air travel in 2009, and it shows a drop of 5.2 percent in North American air travel. Of course, part of the reason for that is the recession, and a corresponding part is the shrinking of seating capacity by U.S. airlines as they try to cut supply to the point where it's blow demand, hoping to raise fares even more than they have so far this year.

Anyway, here is the ACI report:

"ACI’s World Airport Traffic Report for 2009 – the most comprehensive source of global airport traffic data available on the market – is based on traffic data from over 1350 airports. The introductory commentary focuses on trends at global and regional level.

--Worldwide airport passenger numbers dropped by 1.8% in 2009 to 4.796 billion, from a high of 4.882 billion in 2008.

--Middle East (+7.7%), Asia-Pacific (+4.9%) and Latin America-Caribbean (+1.5%) maintained growth.

--Europe and North America registered significant decreases of 5.4% and 5.2% respectively, followed by Africa (-0.6%)

--Worldwide domestic traffic was flat (-0.2%) while international traffic dropped 3.9%

--Worldwide aircraft movements decreased by 5.1% to 74.1 million

--Total cargo volumes handled by airports fell by 7.9% to 79.8 million tons

--38% of airports worldwide registered passenger growth, at an average of 10.2%. The gaining airports represent 31.7% of worldwide traffic

--62% of airports worldwide lost traffic, at an average rate of 6.5% representing 68.3% of global passengers

--Two thirds of airports with over 5 million passengers (147) lost traffic in 2009 at an average rate of -5.6%

During the first half of 2009, following a weak last quarter in 2008, overall traffic continued to drop rapidly due to the impact of deepening economic uncertainty, falling industrial production and falling GDP. Exceptional factors such as the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic had an adverse impact on traffic in May and June, reaching beyond the borders of Latin America to North America, Asia Pacific and Europe

The mid-year months traffic losses slowed and even stabilized in a few key developing markets. Domestic traffic in emerging markets reported new expansion, not just a positive comparison to past poor performance, in part thanks to government stimulus packages that were boosting industrial output and economic stability. China, Brazil and India were leaders in this trend. As is often the case, domestic traffic is a precursor of returning international traffic and that is what we saw in the third quarter, with general improvements in almost all markets.

Thus despite the losses in the first term, renewed passenger traffic growth resulted in an average decline of 1.8 percent for the full year. At the same time, the 5.1 percent drop in aircraft movements indicates the extent to which airlines dropped routes and trimmed excessive capacity in an effort to stabilize their service offerings.

Cargo fared less well in 2009, with steepest losses reported in the first months of the year related to global economic contraction. Despite the reversal of that trend later in the year, cargo traffic for the year dropped by an average of 7.9 percent relative to 2008. ...

Passenger movement by region highlights a clear disparity between two groupings: growing traffic in Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, and Middle East on the one hand, and losses in the African, European and North American markets on the other. While the Middle East continued to gain market share in the international sector throughout the year, Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean were cushioned by robust demand for domestic air travel.

Traffic drops in the first quarter were the deepest in Europe and North America, where the recovery trajectory was shallow showing patchy growth in the fourth quarter. Africa experienced a smaller drop in traffic with stronger recovery signs. Latin America-Caribbean struggled with the fallout of the H1N1 outbreak over the summer which hampered underlying stronger growth, while Asia-Pacific emerged definitively from the crisis in the second half of the year."


Top 10 Airports in Passenger traffic
(Note: This list does not differentiate between connecting flights and origination and destination flights)

1. ATLANTA (ATL) ... 88 million

2. LONDON (LHR) ... 66 million

3. BEIJING ... 65.4 million (up 16.9 percent over '08)

4. CHICAGO (ORD) ... 64.2 million

5. TOKYO (HND) ... 61.9 million

6. PARIS (CDG) ... 57.9 MILLION


8. DALLAS/FORT WORTH (DFW) ... 56 million

9. FRANKFURT (FRA) ... 50.9 million

10. DENVER (DEN) ... 50.2 million

(Note: The New York market is divided mostly among three airports, JFK, Newark and Laguardia. JFK was 12th in passenger traffic at 45.9 million)


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