Global Passenger Traffic Continues to Post Modest Gains at 1.8% Year-Over-Year in February

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MONTRÉAL, 10 April 2013 – Most of the aggregate level growth in passenger traffic for the month of February came from Asian airports. Both Hong Kong (HKG) and Beijing (PEK) reported robust growth rates of 15 and 7.3% respectively.

However HKG and PEK, in addition to many other Asian airports, witnessed a significant air freight decline in February 2013 compared with February 2012.

The seasonal factor of Chinese New Year taking place in February 2013, as compared with January 2012, is responsible for distorted February year-over-year freight results. During Chinese New Year, many businesses across Asia close. This factor, coupled with a high concentration of international air freight among Asia-Pacific airports has resulted in a 6.3% year-over-year decrease in total air freight and an 11.8% decrease in Asia-Pacific air freight.

Of all regions, only the Middle East posted gains in both passenger and freight traffic. Total passenger and air freight traffic grew by 9% year-over-year in Middle Eastern airports. Dubai (DXB), the region's key hub, experienced double-digit growth in passenger and freight traffic at 11.4 and 15.9% respectively.

ACI World's Economics Director Rafael Echevarne commented, "With the significant slowdown in domestic passenger traffic across European and North American markets, the source of much of the growth hinges on the international traveller. For the most part, international travel remains unaffected, particularly with respect to international traffic across the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The continued growth trend through 2012 and into 2013 is evidence of this phenomenon in the face of on-going economic uncertainties. Year-over-year growth in these regions was over 10% in February. Overall, February is a difficult month to gage given that seasonality factors make their way into the data. Both The Chinese New Year and the 2012 Leap Year effect had negative repercussions on freight volumes."