Passenger traffic starts the year off strong at 5% while air freight declines for January

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Montreal, 5 March 2012– On the whole, both international traffic and domestic traffic posted gains in the vicinity of 5 percent for the month of January. The Asia-Pacific region has been a major contributor to this growth, with a year over year increase of over 9 percent in passenger traffic. Jakarta (CGK), Hong Kong (HKG) and Guangzhou (CAN) all posted gains in the stock of passengers of over 15 percent for January. However, air freight for the Asia-Pacific region reveals an entirely different story. For the region as a whole, traffic in air freight has dropped by almost 13 percent inducing a global decline to over 7 percent for the month of January. While there is some cause for concern, much of the decline is attributed to the Chinese New Year. With Chinese industry closing for the holidays, major airports in the region saw sharp declines. Shanghai (PVG) and Hong Kong (HKG) decreased by -22.8 and -17.5 percent respectively for January. Major airports in other regions experienced declines in freight as well. Based on the global sample of airports, sixteen of the top twenty airports in terms of freight volume all experienced year over year declines for the month of January. Incheon (ICN), Anchorage (ANC), Paris (CDG) and Frankfurt (FRA) each saw double digit declines in air freight traffic.

ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, “Despite the climate of uncertainty sweeping across many economies, passenger growth has been relatively stable and consistent over 2011. We expect to see continued stability in global passenger growth over the months to come. In contrast, air freight has had a mixed picture. The December 2011 figures showed us that air freight was stabilizing to the levels of 2010. However, while the Chinese New Year is playing a role in January’s recent decline, the shroud of uncertainty hanging over global air freight makes it difficult to predict future growth patterns in the short run, particularly under such volatility across regions.”