Airports Council International (ACI) World reports that global passenger traffic grew by +2.3 percent in October, slightly less than the +2.6 percent rate recorded in September. The figure remained in line with the moderation pattern observed since June, since which growth rates for the industry have hovered between +2 percent and +3 percent. Year-to-date growth was recorded as +3 percent with only two months left to examine in 2019. Against a global economic backdrop that remains quite challenging, the decline in the global air freight industry continued in October, falling by -2.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. This was a slight improvement over September’s figure of -4 percent and was quite close to the industry’s year-to-date result which stands at -3 percent.
“A weakened freight industry and a moderation in passenger traffic growth was recorded in October which was mostly a continuation of the general trend in 2019,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “The domestic freight market managed a slight recovery but with the volatile trade environment still present in the global stage, end-of-year results could go either way. The possibility of a decline in total freight volumes by year’s end, due primarily to international freight performance, however, is fairly assured.”
Passenger traffic: Following September, during which the gap between the two seemed to narrow, the international passenger market’s growth once again outpaced the domestic market substantially in October. International passenger growth reached +3.2 percent during the month, with year-to-date reaching +4.2 percent. Domestic passenger growth was much lower, at +1.5 percent, bringing year-to-date to +2.1 percent.
North America was once-again the best-performing major market in October, posting a +3.2 percent year-over-year growth rate. Its year-to-date stood at +3.5 percent, in line with its domestic market’s +3.5 percent, which has remained relatively strong in a context where global growth is only +2.1 percent.
Europe only gained +2 percent during the period, just below its September’s +2.1 percent figure. The region’s year-to-date growth stood at +3.4 percent, driven by a particularly resilient international passenger segment.
Asia-Pacific performed the worst of the three major markets. It grew +1.1 percent on a year-over-year basis in October, maintaining its +1.7 percent year-to-date growth with two months left to the year. The region’s domestic market, with strong links to its major markets such as China, India and Japan, only gained +0.2 percent during the month. Now standing at +0.4 percent on a year-to-date basis, the segment is vulnerable to fall into negative territory by the end of the year.
Africa continued to post robust gains in October. Although the month’s +5.2 percent was slower than September’s +6.7 percent, continuing a downtrend started a few months back, its year-to-date growth remains at +6.9 percent, and should once again be the top-ranking region for growth in 2019.
The Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean posted relatively robust figures given the global backdrop in October, gaining +5.2 percent and +3.1 percent respectively. Year-to-date results remained subdued for the Middle East, at +2.2 percent, while Latin America-Caribbean stood at +3.9 percent, second only to Africa at this point.
Freight volumes: October figures showed a slight improvement over September for the freight industry, with the domestic segment posting positive growth during the period. Global freight volumes declined by -2.9 percent but the domestic market reached +0.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, maintaining year-to-date results in the positive, at +0.6 percent. As with September, Europe experienced the least significant decline among the major markets in October. The region’s freight volumes declined by -1.4 percent, bringing its year-to-date figure to -2.7 percent.
North America performed similarly on a year-over-year basis, declining by -1.5 percent. Its year-to-date growth rate remained higher, however, at -0.3 percent with two months left to the year. The region’s domestic market remained in the positive, at +2.9 percent on a year-to-date basis, but its international market is now drawing closer to the decline experienced by Asia-Pacific, at -4.9 percent. The latter fell by -4 percent in October, bringing its year-to-date growth rate to -5.5 percent. Both the domestic and international segments remained in the negative in Asia-Pacific, though its international freight market suffered the brunt of the losses, reaching -6.2 percent on a year-to-date basis.
Africa, the Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean all posted declines in October. The results were less severe than in September for the first two, however, with these regions declining by -3.4 percent and -4 percent respectively. Latin America-Caribbean performed much worse, losing -8 percent on a year-over-year basis. By the end of the month, all of these regions stood at a negative rate for the first ten months of the year; Africa reached -0.2 percent, while the two other regions were both at -3.1 percent.