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General News Last modified on September 2, 2019

Challenging year continues for ACI Asia-Pacific airports

Passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East increased by +2.1% and +8.1% respectively in June.

However, in China, the overall passenger growth was negatively impacted by adverse weather conditions in the southern and eastern parts of the country, which caused significant flight cancellations at many airports.

And, according to ACI figures, the domestic sector showed "signs of weakening", although international demands "remained solid".

plane ILS

The top three airports with the most passenger volume increase from last year were: Guangzhou (CAN) +5.1%, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +3.9% and Shenzhen (SZX) +5.9%.

Passenger traffic in India showed "resilience" in June, according to ACI, which reveals that both the international and domestic segments recovered enough to demonstate "positive growth" 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%, Bangalore (BLR) +4.4% and Ahmedabad (AMD) +10.4%.

In the Middle East, the healthy upturn in passenger numbers was helped by Ramadan. Airports with the highest volume increase from last year: Doha (DOH) +19.2%, Dubai (DXB) +4.2% and Sharjah (SHJ) +17.5%.

The rise in numbers this June means that in the year-to-date passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East grew +1.9% and +2.5% respectively.

Pax shadows

However, ACI is quick to note that the 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, ACI warns that 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".

In contrast to passenger traffic, cargo volumes across Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions continues to deteriorate, falling by -6.5% and -7.1% respectively in June.

Indeed, Hangzhou (HGH) was the only airport that posted a positive growth rate among the top 20 air freight hubs, at +4.2%.

Its 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% and the Middle East at -2.7%.

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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