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29 March 2018   January 2018: Passengers up 4% in Asia-Pacific and down -0.4% in Middle East

[March 29, 2018 – Hong Kong] In January, passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific recorded a +4.4% increase whereas the Middle East reported a small reduction of -0.4% compared to the same period last year. This month’s traffic was largely distorted by the later timing of Chinese New Year (CNY) compared to last year, resulting in slower growth in many countries for the month.


India generated the highest growth rate in the Asia-Pacific region at approximately +15% in January, backed by robust domestic demand. India’s domestic sector has experienced a period of high growth since 2015 and continued to have strong momentum. Among the top 10 airports driving domestic passenger traffic volume in January, seven came from India. Led by: Delhi (DEL) +12.6%, Bangalore (BLR) +19.8% and Hyderabad (HYD) +24.8%.


The shifting timing of CNY has resulted in China’s growth slowed to approximately +2% in January. The busiest airports in the country all reported small decline or marginal increase for the month: Beijing (PEK) -0.4%, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +0.3%, Guangzhou (CAN) +0.7%.  Passenger traffic is expected to rebound significantly for China in February 2018.


Elsewhere in the region, vibrant international passenger travels benefited a number of markets in driving volume increase for the month. Top runners were: Seoul Incheon (ICN) +8.2%, Kuala Lumpur (KUL) +4.9%, and Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) +7.4%.


In the Middle East, passenger traffic continued to show mixed results in January. Dubai (DXB) was also partially impacted by the timing of CNY and recorded a slight decline of -1.0% while Abu Dhabi (AUH) declined by -12.6%. The diplomatic crisis in Qatar since June 2017 continued to negatively impact Doha (DOH)’s traffic for the month at -14.1%. The bright spots in the region were in Kuwait (KWI) and Muscat (MCT) where strong growth of +19% and +12.4% respectively was observed.


In terms of air freight, Asia-Pacific and Middle East grew by +8.3% and +0.7% respectively in January. Current month’s growth continued to be supported by buoyant demand on exports on the back of strengthened global economy and trade. The top freight hubs were: Hong Kong (HKG) +9.9%, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +9.1% and Seoul Incheon (ICN) +7.4%.



TABLE 1:  Preliminary year-on-year traffic growth rates for Airports reporting highest traffic volume in the respective size category in January 2018 1


Top 3 airports by size category2



> 40M

25M to 40M

15M to 25M

5M to 15M


Beijing (PEK) -0.4%

Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) +7.4%

Xiamen (XMN)        -2.5%

Kuwait (KWI) +19.0%

Hong Kong (HKG) 


Dubai (DXB) -1.0%


Melbourne (MEL) +3.1%

Fukuoka (FUK) +1.8%

Muscat (MCT) +12.4%

Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +9.1%

Tokyo Haneda (HND) -3.4%


Doha (DOH)          -14.1%

Brisbane (BNE) +1.3%

Osaka Itami (ITM) +3.1%

Seoul Incheon (ICN)         +7.4%


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)



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