Tom Allett studies the recently announced provisional ACI airport statistics for 2010.
The provisional figures that are customarily used to benchmark the world’s busiest airports were released on March 15, 2011. Each year, ACI’s statistics record the annual (calendar year) passenger, cargo and aircraft movements that are achieved by its approximately 1,650 member airports. Normally, the preliminary figures are released towards the end of the first quarter with the final figures following around four months later.
ACI’s 2010 statistics cover more than 900 of its member airports and account for about 93% of air traffic. Overall, they show significant increases for global passenger and cargo traffic.
The provisional statistics record that passenger traffic grew by 6.3% when compared to the 2009 figure, while cargo tonnage increased by 15.2% to 82 million tonnes while aircraft movements recorded a slight rise to 64 million, up by 0.8%. Monthly worldwide passenger growth was consistently high, averaging between 5% and 10%. The only two exceptions were the months of April and December, in which European traffic was badly affected by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud and unusually harsh winter weather respectively. Overall though, Europe still managed a 4.3% increase in 2010, thanks to strong international summer and autumn traffic.
“Last year underscored the resilience of the air transport business and resulted in over five billion annual passengers for the first time ever,” reported ACI’s World Director, Angela Gittens. “It highlighted the shift and divergence in development across the regions – while North America and Europe continued to struggle to reach pre- [global economic] crisis passenger volumes, Asia-Pacific, Latin American-Caribbean and Middle East sustained a strong momentum and gained market share through double digit growth,” she said.
A slower than expected economic recovery and restraint by air carriers in adding domestic capacity led to only a modest growth in North America of 2.4%, keeping passenger numbers below the pre-crisis levels in the region, while a 14.2% rise in international passengers carried in the Asia-Pacific region resulted in an overall increase of 11.5%. Latin America and the Caribbean enjoyed strong domestic growth, particularly in Brazil, but other countries in the region also recorded strong figures, particularly where national economies and low-cost carriers expanded quickly. International traffic growth was also important in Africa and the Middle East, which delivered 8.8% and 11.5%
Of the ten largest facilities in the world, Atlanta/Hartsfield-Jackson continues to dominate, handling nearly 90 million passengers during 2010 – around 16 million passengers more than its nearest rival. The fastest growing facility in the top ten was Beijing Capital International with a 13% increase in passenger traffic – up to 73.8 million – which meant it moved up from third place in 2009 into second in 2010.
The biggest top ten casualty was London/Heathrow, which saw its traffic decline 0.2% – enough to see it move down two places to fourth, with Chicago/O’Hare also climbing above the UK gateway. Heathrow was one of only two airports in the top 30 to report a decline in traffic; the other was Las Vegas/McCarren International in 22nd place after a 2.9% drop in passenger figures. While outside the top ten the major movers were Dubai International, climbing to 13th place thanks to a 15.4% rise, with Shanghai/PuDong and Jakarta/Soekarno-Hatta both reporting health increases of 27.2% and 18.4% respectively.
ACI says the airline industry’s recovery was: “more coherent and comprehensive in the freight sector” where all regions showed double digit increases, led by Asia-Pacific (+18.6%) and Europe (+17%). The figures show that international freight was the principal driver of the air freight recovery as total tonnage jumped by 20.5% compared to the 2009 total.
Perhaps the most notable change within the ACI statistics is that after years of gradually narrowing the gap between them, Hong Kong has overtaken Memphis as the world’s busiest cargo hub. The US facility recorded growth of 5.9% but it was one of only two facilities (along with Beijing) that failed to record double digit growth against 2009. According to ACI, “These figures clearly show that the industry is rebounding, but it must be remembered that 2009 was one of the worst years for the sector and so the percentage rises during 2010 were artificially high.”
Across the world, cargo volumes grew by 15.2% in 2010 to 82 million tonnes. Hong Kong, like most other Asian airports, reported strong growth up 23.2% at 4.1 million tonnes. The increases were generally due to exports and imports from China, with Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen all reporting significant rises in tonnage, with Shenzhen becoming the fastest expanding facility in the cargo market. All the top 30 airports disclosed positive figures, with Paris/Charles de Gaulle remaining the busiest cargo hub in Europe, although Frankfurt has closed the gap to just 100,000 tonnes. In the Middle East, Dubai International also continued its dramatic expansion, recording a 17.8% rise.
In terms of aircraft movements, Atlanta/Hartsfield-Jackson remained the busiest airport in the world despite a small decline (-2.1%) in its take-offs and landings. The biggest top ten loss was at Paris/Charles de Gaulle, which dropped from seventh to tenth place with a 4.8% decrease in its movements during the year. Both North America (-1.2%) and Europe (-0.4%) had a drop in movements, attributed to a slower than expected recovery from the economic recession. However, other regions performed a lot better, with Latin America and the Caribbean up 6.2% closely followed by the Middle East (+6.1%) and Asia-Pacific (+5%).
Summing up these preliminary figures, Angela Gittens said; “Passenger and freight growth clearly surpassed global GDP growth in 2010. GDP growth projections for this and coming years are high, creating a positive outlook for the demand for air transport. This underpins the need to continue to expand and modernise airport infrastructure to maintain high standards of efficiency and
customer service. More than ever, facilities will be asked to finance these projects autonomously without public funds, requiring private and public airports to be empowered to generate necessary returns on their investment.”
|PASSENGER TRAFFIC 2010|
|Airport||2010 Total Passengers||%
|2009 Total Passengers||%
|6||7||Los Angeles (LAX)||58,915,100||4.2||56,520,843||-5.5|
|8||8||Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)||56,905,066||1.6||56,030,457||-1.9|
|11||13||Hong Kong (HKG)||50,410,819||10.6||45,558,807||-4.8|
|14||12||New York/JFK (JFK)||46,495,876||1.4||45,915,069||-4.0|
|22||17||Las Vegas (LAS)||39,397,359||-2.6||40,469,012||-6.3|
|23||20||San Francisco (SFO)||39,254,634||5.1||37,338,942||0.3|
|TRAFFIC MOVEMENTS 2010|
|Airport||2010 Total Movements||%
|2009 Total Movements||%
|3||3||Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)||652,261||2.1||638,782||-2.7|
|5||4||Los Angeles (LAX)||575,835||5.3||634,383||-15.9|
|9||8||Las Vegas (LAS)||505,591||-1.1||511,064||-11.7|
|10||7||Paris /CDG (CDG)||499,997||-4.8||525,314||-6.2|
|21||18||New York/JFK (JFK)||397,419||-4.1||416,945||-5.5|
|23||24||San Francisco (SFO)||387,248||2.0||379,751||-2.1|
|26||25||Salt Lake City (SLC)||361,954||-2.6||372,300||-4.4|
|27||26||New York (LGA)||360,544||1.9||354,594||-6.5|
|30||29||Mexico City (MEX)||339,898||-2.3||348,306||-5.0|
|CARGO TRAFFIC 2010|
|1||2||Hong Kong (HKG)||4,168,394||23.2||3,385,313||-7.5|
|13||13||Los Angeles (LAX)||1,810,345||15.5||1,509,236||-7.4|
|19||18||New York/JFK (JFK)||1,343,114||17.4||1,144,894||-21.2|
|28||28||Kuala Lumpur (KUL)||697,015||15.6||601,620||-9.9|