March 2018: Passengers up 11 percent in Asia-Pacific
Passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific and Middle East continued recording growth in March at +10.7 percent and +4.0 percent year-on-year, respectively.
India led in the region, reporting growth at +23.1 percent, boosted by robust domestic demand. The domestic sector grew by +26 percent during the month, its highest since March 2016. Top volume drivers for the month were: Delhi (DEL) +16.6 percent, Bangalore (BLR) +47.9 percent and Mumbai (BOM) +16.1 percent.
Growth in China reached +11.2 percent in March supported by vigorous domestic and international demand. The international sector grew by +19.2 percent during the month, the fastest since January 2017. This was attributed to airports actively expanding international services. Top volume drivers for the month included: Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +9.6 percent, Guangzhou (CAN) +9.9 percent and Shenzhen (SZX) +13.7 percent.
Passenger traffic in the Middle East picked up some pace, benefited by an earlier start of the Easter peak season as compared to last year. Dubai (DXB), the largest airport in the region recorded an increase of +4.54 percent. Though the diplomatic crisis in Qatar continued to negatively impact Doha’s (DOH) traffic, the decline eased to -6.5 percent, an improvement from the double-digit decreases since June 2017. On the other hand, Kuwait (KWI) and Muscat (MCT) continued delivering strong growth at +20.1 percent and +8.3 percent, respectively.
Collectively, passenger traffic growth maintained momentum throughout the first quarter. India enjoyed vibrant growth in domestic demand, while airports in China actively pursued international and domestic opportunities. Growth in the Middle East was moderate as carriers adapted and adjusted strategies amid market challenges and regional tensions.
Air freight growth slowed in March, with Asia-Pacific recording +1.0 percent increase and Middle East recording a decline of -2.1 percent. The top freight hubs in both regions recorded declines from last year due to reduction in export orders: Hong Kong (HKG) -2.5 percent, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) -2.3 percent and Seoul Incheon (ICN) +0.3 percent.
Overall air freight growth was moderate but remained steady in the first quarter. Among the top 10 freight airports in Asia-Pacific and Middle East combined, 5 recorded year-to-date growth of +4 percent or above.
ACI preliminary passenger and freight statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60 percent of total passenger traffic and 70 percent of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.
- Size categories refer to the annual passenger traffic (in the last 12 months).