On the eve of the 28th ACI Europe/World General Assembly, Congress & Exhibition in Brussels from 18-20 June the Airports Council International (ACI) World has found that sound economic conditions in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 have helped bolster air transport demand.
Passenger traffic grew 6.7 per cent year-on-year (YOY) for Q1 and by 8.1 per cent YOY for the month of March.
ACI World director general, Angela Gittens said: “The strong start to 2018 illustrated the strong and clear link between aviation and trade and strong economic conditions.
“Healthy labor markets and rising consumer and business confidence are part and parcel of strong air transport and airport sector. An open approach to trade is also key to a burgeoning air freight sector, however.
“Even with the great strides that have been achieved in air transport demand across the world’s airports, the risk of adverse trade relationships among major economies still looms as a potential challenge.”
ACI said air travel across African airports continued to make a strong comeback in 2018 with passenger traffic growing by 12.7 per cent for Q1 in 2018. After a sharp decline in major markets such as Egypt and Nigeria, passenger traffic has recovered.
The major aviation markets of the Asia-Pacific region not only achieved high growth in passenger throughput YOY but were also the largest contributor to global growth in air transport demand. For the region, passenger traffic increased by 8.2 per cent in Q1. China, the leading market in Asia, boasted over 35 per cent of the region’s passenger traffic.
The Middle East achieved one if its weakest growth rates since 2001. In Q1 of 2018, passenger traffic grew only modestly, by 1.2 per cent. ACI said the repercussions from the ongoing political strife among states in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have taken their toll on the region’s aviation market.
European airports continued to achieve record gains in passenger traffic well above historical average annual growth rates, which are estimated at four per cent per annum since the year 2000. Q1 of 2018 saw passenger traffic jump up by 7.7 per cent YOY.
Latin-America-Caribbean, after a lackluster year in 2017, many aviation markets experienced a resurgence with a gain of 5.4 per cent in passenger numbers in Q1.
North America continued to achieve growth rates well above its mature market status. Spanning almost two decades, average annualized growth rates have hovered in the realm of one per cent. Thus, a growth rate of 4.8 per cent for Q1 in 2018 is indicative of the resurgence and strength of the United States aviation market, ACI said.