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20 May 2016   Passenger growth reaching 10% in Asia-Pacific and Middle East for Q1 2016; air freight signaled mixed results in both regions

[May 20, 2016 – Hong Kong] Passengers traveling through the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airports in March 2016 grew by +6.7% and +10.4% respectively. For the first quarter, Asia-Pacific passenger traffic grew by +9.7% and the Middle East +10.2%.  (Note: Cumulated Q1 2016 traffic growth was positively affected by the leap year, an extra day in February 2016).


Overall for both regions, passenger traffic growth continued to be robust for the quarter. Strong economic growth in India stimulated domestic travel, resulting in top airports all posting strong increase: Delhi (DEL) +22.9%, Mumbai (BOM) +10.5%, Bangalore (BLR) +21.1%, Chennai (MAA) +11.9% and Hyderabad (HYD) +17.5%. In Singapore (SIN), fueled by robust growth in passenger traffic from Thailand, China and Malaysia, the airport recorded a gain of +9.9% and appeared to have regained confidence after a period of relatively slow growth since 2014.  Elsewhere in the region, a number of airports also generated substantial gain for the quarter: Pusan (PUS) +26%, Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) +23.1%, Kaohsiung (KHH) +21% and Doha (DOH) +20.4%.


In terms of air freight volumes, for the month of March 2016, Asia-Pacific posted marginal increase at +1.3% whereas growth in the Middle East remained solid at +2.9%. For the quarter, Asia-Pacific showed a decline of -1% compared to the Middle East where growth was +4.4%.


The results for the quarter are mixed in both regions. In the Asia-Pacific, growth was negatively impacted by the disruptions of US west coast sea ports that caused distortionary boost to air freight volumes in February 2015. Resulting in many Asia-Pacific freight hub suffering a decline from last year: Hong Kong (HKG) -3.5%, Incheon (ICN) -4.4%, and Narita (NRT) -10.2%. While some airports delivered significant growth: Delhi (DEL) +15.7%, Manila (MNL) +18.2%.


Growth in the Middle East showed moderation. While Dubai (DXB) grew +3.5%, Dubai World Central (DWC) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) suffered decline of -6.9% and -4.4% respectively. The exception is Doha (DOH) where growth was the highest at +20.3%.



TABLE 1:  Airports reporting the highest traffic volume in Q1 2016 (with respective growth rate from last year) according to preliminary traffic data


Top 3 airports by size1



> 40M

25M to 40M

15M to 25M

5M to 15M


Beijing (PEK) +3.6%

Taipei (TPE) +14.0%

Kansai (KIX) +15.7%

Phuket (HKT) +18.7%

Hong Kong (HKG) 


Dubai (DXB) +6.8%

Manila (MNL) +11.6%

Abu Dhabi (AUH) +9.5%

Busan (PUS) +26.0%

Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +0.1%

Tokyo Haneda (HND) +5.4%

Kunming (KMG) +12.3%

Seoul Gimpo (GMP) +4.2%

Osaka Itami (ITM) +2.5%

Dubai (DXB ) +3.5%


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.




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