ACI Reports Provisional Global Airport Statistics

PROVISIONAL STATISTICS from industry body Airports Council International (ACI) have shown that only four of the world’s top 20 airports reported an increase in traffic during 2009.  Dubai International, Bangkok and San Francisco reported increases of 9.2%, 4.9% and 0.2% but it was Beijing’s Capital International Airport that posted the largest growth in passenger numbers, up 17% to 65.3 million.  The Chinese gateway is now ranked as the world’s third largest facility having overtaken Chicago/O’Hare which witnessed an 8.8% decline.  London/Heathrow also overtook the US hub during the year and is now the second largest airport in the world after reporting a much shallower decline in numbers.
In the top 100 listing, 26 airports showed positive growth, and of the 26 only Cairo, San Francisco, Baltimore and Istanbul were not located in either the Asia-Pacific Region (mainly China) or Brazil.  Others in the top 100 fared less well: Vancouver, London/Stansted, Detroit, Stockholm/Arlanda, St. Louis, Manchester, Dublin and Osaka report double digit declines.
ACI said there was an overall 2.7% decline in global passenger traffic for the year, reflecting steep declines in the first quarter in most regions but a return to growth activity by year-end.  Total cargo volumes retracted by 8.2%, while aircraft movements were 5.5% below the 2008 level.
“We are pleased to see that the global results for 2009 were less depressed than originally anticipated, although the pattern was as we had forecast.  We recognize the economic cautions ahead, but early indications for January and February confirm continuing global traffic stabilisation with reports of renewed domestic and international demand in many localities,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens.
According to ACI, rebounds in domestic traffic helped mitigate the impact of global recession.  Data suggests that strong performance in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean regions during the second half of 2009 was mainly driven primarily by domestic traffic in China, India and Brazil.  The Middle East maintained a more stable overall performance curve throughout the year, whereas airports in the North America and European regions only timidly exited negative growth towards the end of the year, which helped boost fourth quarter global traffic growth to 3.5% after a flat third quarter.
The first two quarters of 2009 would seem to mark the peak of the crisis for global air traffic with passenger volumes down by 8% and 5% respectively.  Cargo declines were even more dramatic for the first two quarters, down by 20% and 17%, respectively, as compared to the same periods in 2008.  According to ACI: “traffic in the second half of 2009 reflected the growing confidence of businesses and consumers in economic recovery, particularly visible in those countries that reported positive year-on-year GDP growth such as China, India and Brazil.”

Key financial indicators for the monitored Australian airports for 2008−09
Airport Passenger numbers
Change in passenger numbers (%) Total aeronautical revenue
Increase in total aeronautical revenue (%) Total aeronautical operating margin
Increase in total aeronautical operating margin (%) Aeronautical revenue per passenger ($) Increase in aeronautical revenue per passenger (%)
Adelaide* 6.9 2.3 81 5.0 34 1.3 11.70 2.6
Brisbane 19.1 1.7 164 15.5 58 7.2 8.56 13.6
Melbourne 24.8 2.1 197 5.2 94 2.0 7.96 3.0
Perth 9.7 6.0 80 7.9 33 1.0 8.25 1.7
Sydney 32.7 -1.4 446 5.4 202 7.8 13.63 5.1

According to ACI’s provisional statistics Beijing’s Capital International Airport’s 17% passenger growth makes the Chinese gateway the world’s third largest facility.  It overtakes Chicago/O’Hare which witnessed an 8.8% decline.  London/Heathrow also overtook the US hub during the year and is now the second busiest passenger airport in the world.  (Wang Wei)