ACI Data Shows Growth in 2007

Airports Council International (ACI) has released its provisional traffic data for 2007 based on information supplied by 1,200 of the world’s airports. Nearly 4.8 billion passengers were handled in 2007, an increase of 6.8% on the previous year. Speaking at a conference of African airport executives in Accra, Ghana, ACI’s Director General Angela Gittens said that the 2007 growth was a positive sign, but cautioned that preliminary data from the first half of 2008 showed this was easing.
Little has changed among the rankings of the world’s busiest airports, with Atlanta staying on top with over 89 million passengers, followed by Chicago O’Hare (76m), London/Heathrow (68m), Tokyo/Haneda (67m) and Los Angeles (62m). However, when just international traffic is taken into account, the top five busiest airports are London/Heathrow (62m), Paris/Charles de Gaulle (55m), Amsterdam/Schiphol (48m), Frankfurt (47m) and Hong Kong (46m).
The report showed that the fastest rise in passengers occurred in the Middle East with an 11.3% increase, followed by Africa (11.2%) and Asia-Pacific (9.1%). The North America region showed the slowest rate rise at 3.5%, demonstrating the region’s maturity as well as the capacity and congestion issues it faces. Europe reported growth of 7.4% and, at 31% of world passengers, looks set to overtake North America (32%) as the largest region for air traffic in the next few years if current trends continue.
While worldwide passenger numbers grew by nearly 7%, the rise in aircraft movements was at 2.4%, showing that the industry worldwide has moved to larger aircraft and are flying with higher load factors. Aircraft movements totalled 76.4 million last year. Nine out of the top ten airports with highest aircraft movements are in the USA, reflecting the large share of domestic and regional traffic in that market.
The rate of increase in cargo traffic slowed slightly to 3.2% over the previous year, with 88.5 million metric tonnes handled in 2007, possibly due to the increase in fuel price. Once again the FedEx hub at Memphis, was the busiest cargo airport in the world, followed by Hong Kong and Anchorage.
The report also revealed that nine out of the top ten fastest growing airports in 2007 were in Asia-Pacific. The passenger market in India had the largest rise at 24% while the greatest single market in the world remains the USA, which handled 1.4 billion passengers last year. The next largest was China with 350 million passengers and third was the United Kingdom with just under 250 million.
The trend for robust growth at small- and medium-sized airports outpacing that at larger facilities continued in 2007 with the ‘under 5 million passenger’ category rising almost three times faster than more congested and capacity constrained airports in the ‘over 40 million passenger’ category.