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28 February 2018   Asia-Pacific and Middle East Airports Posted Strong Passenger Growth in 2017

[February 28, 2018 – Hong Kong] In December, passenger traffic at Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airports grew by +8.7% and +0.7% respectively compared to the same period last year. 


In China, robust domestic passenger demand boosted the overall traffic growth in December to reach approximately +11%, the third highest level in 2017 behind January and November. Among the top 10 volume driver airports in the Asia-Pacific, 6 came from China led by: Guangzhou (CAN) +10%, Tianjin (TSN) +37.1% and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +8.8%.


Overall growth in India reached approximately +15% in December, predominantly driven by vibrant domestic demand. The domestic sector in India has experienced high growth since 2015, and current month’s growth reached +16%. The top 3 airports in the country all reported solid results: Delhi (DEL) +15.3%, Mumbai (BOM) +7.2% and Bangalore (BLR) +16.1%.


In terms of international traffic volume, vacation travels stimulated strong growth in a number of airports in December:  Seoul Incheon (ICN) was the top runner at +10.5% followed by Bangkok (BKK) +9.3% and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) +5.2%.


In the Middle East, passenger traffic continued to show mixed results in December. Dubai (DXB) grew by +1.9% while Doha (DOH) -16.9% continued to be negatively impacted by Qatar’s diplomatic crisis with a number of neighbouring states.  The bright spots were in Kuwait (KWI) and Muscat (MCT) where strong growth of +17.1% and +14.8% respectively was observed.


For the year 2017, Asia-Pacific and Middle East grew +7.8% and +4.7% respectively. Overall passenger traffic growth in the Asia-Pacific maintained a strong momentum throughout the year while the pace of growth eased in the Middle East. Looking ahead, considering the aggressive expansion of low cost carriers in the region, and a number of festive holiday periods in the first quarter of 2018, passenger traffic is expected to remain solid going into the new year.


In terms of air freight, Asia-Pacific and Middle East grew +4.8% and +2.1% respectively in December. Current month’s growth continued to be driven by buoyant demand on exports, improved business confidence and growing e-commerce activities in the Asia-Pacific. The top runners were: Hong Kong (HKG) +6.2%, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +1.7% and Seoul Incheon (ICN) +6.3%. On the other hand, Dubai (DXB) in the Middle East reported a minor contraction of -0.5%.


For the year 2017, air freight in Asia-Pacific and Middle East grew +8.5% and +6.0% respectively. Among the top ten freight hubs in Asia-Pacific and Middle East combined, eight recorded growth of 7% or above for the year.  With broad improvement in world trade conditions and improved business confidence, air freight volume growth has been robust in 2017, though showing signs of moderation in the fourth quarter. Looking ahead, positive factors such as increasing cross-border e-commerce activities and the growing pharmaceuticals sector should provide optimism for air freight going into the new year.


TABLE 1:  Preliminary year-on-year traffic growth rates for Airports reporting highest traffic volume in the respective size category in December 2017 1


Top 3 airports by size category2



> 40M

25M to 40M

15M to 25M

5M to 15M


Beijing (PEK)


Bangkok Don

Mueang (DMK) +11.6%

Xiamen (XMN) +12.8%

Muscat (MCT) +14.8%

Hong Kong (HKG) 


Dubai (DXB)



Melbourne (MEL) +3.5%

Brisbane (BNE) +2.4%

Kuwait (KWI)


Shanghai Pudong

(PVG) +1.7%

Tokyo Haneda

(HND) +1.0%


Hangzhou (HGH) +13.0%

Fukuoka (FUK) +6.0%

Nanchang (KHN) +73.8%

Seoul Incheon (ICN)         +6.3%



Note :


  1. ACI preliminary passenger and freight statistics are based on a significant sample of airports that provide regular monthly reports to ACI. They represent approximately 60% of total passenger traffic and 70% of total freight traffic worldwide. Commentary, tables and charts are based on preliminary data submitted by participating airports and are therefore subject to change.


  1. Size categories refer to the annual passenger traffic (in the last 12 months)





About Airports Council International Asia-Pacific


ACI Asia-Pacific, one of the five regions of the Airports Council International (ACI), is based in Hong Kong and represents 105 members operating 603 airports in 49 countries in Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East.


As the only global trade association of the world’s airports, ACI represents airports’ interests with governments and international organizations, develops standards, policies and recommended practices for airports, and provides information and training opportunities to raise standards around the world. In 2016, ACI Asia-Pacific airports have handled 3.1 billion passengers and 52.2 million tonnes of cargo.


For further information, please contact:


Vivian Fung

Senior Manager, External Affairs

ACI Asia-Pacific

Tel:                  (852) 2989 8006



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