ACI Asia-Pacific: Passenger traffic rises in Asia and Middle East

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ACI Asia-Pacific June 2019 statistics for passengers and cargo.

ACI Asia-Pacific: Passenger traffic rises in Asia and Middle East

Passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East recorded growth in June at 2.1 percent and 8.1 percent respectively, according to data released today (2 September) by Airports Council International Asia-Pacific (ACI).

In China, the overall passenger growth was negatively impacted by adverse weather conditions in southern and eastern China, which caused significant flight cancellations at many airports. The domestic sector showed signs of weakening, while international demand remained solid. The top three airports with the most passenger volume increase from last year were: Guangzhou (CAN) +5.1 percent, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +3.9 percent and Shenzhen (SZX) +5.9 percent.

In India, passenger traffic demand showed resilience. Both the international and domestic segments recovered to positive growth this month as the market filled in the capacity gap created by Jet Airways’ service suspension. The three airports with the most passenger volume growth were: Hyderabad (HYD) +9.8 percent, Bangalore (BLR) +4.4 percent and Ahmedabad (AMD) +10.4 percent.

The Middle East recorded robust performance at +8.1 percent. Many airports benefited from the shift in timing of Ramadan and reported positive results. Airports with the highest volume increase from last year: Doha (DOH) +19.2 percent, Dubai (DXB) +4.2 percent and Sharjah (SHJ) +17.5 percent.

Overall year-to-date passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East grew +1.9 percent and +2.5 percent respectively. Major markets such as China, India and the United Arab Emirates all experienced slowdown in the first quarter and showed signs of improvement in the second quarter. Looking ahead, the macro-economic environment remains challenging particularly for Asia-Pacific with rising tensions between Japan and South Korea and the escalating trade disputes between China and the United States.

Air freight markets continued to deteriorate, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East declined at 6.5 percent and -7.1 percent respectively in June. Hangzhou (HGH) was the only airport that posted a positive growth rate among the top 20 air freight hubs, at +4.2 percent. The growth was largely driven by the increased handling capacity and network expansion of express couriers.

Overall, air freight slowed in the first half of 2019, with Asia-Pacific at -5.9 percent and the Middle East at -2.7 percent. The escalating trade tensions between China and the United States continued to put pressure on the exports and manufacturing activities in the region.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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