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Airports Report Difficult 2009 Traffic Numbers

April 27, 2010 - Airports Council International reports preliminary results of a 2.7% decline in global passenger traffic for 2009.


April 27, 2010
By Carey Fredericks

April 27, 2010 – Airports Council International reports preliminary results of a 2.7% decline in global passenger traffic for 2009, reflecting steep declines in the first quarter in most regions but a return to growth activity by year-end.

Total cargo volumes retracted by 8.2%, while aircraft movements were 5.5% below the 2008 level. The preliminary report is based on input from over 900 airports.

"We are pleased to see that the global results for 2009 were less depressed than originally anticipated, although the pattern was as we had forecast," ACI World Director General Angela Gittens. "We recognize the economic cautions ahead but early indications for January and February confirm continuing global traffic stabilization with reports of renewed domestic and international demand in many localities."

Rebounds in domestic traffic helped mitigate the impact of global recession. Strong performance in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean regions during the second half of 2009 was driven primarily by domestic traffic in China, India and Brazil.

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The Middle East maintained a more stable overall performance curve throughout the year, whereas airports in the North America and European regions only timidly exited negative growth territory toward the end of the year, which helped boost fourth quarter global traffic growth to 3.5% after a flat third quarter.

The first two quarters of 2009 represented the peak of the crisis for global air traffic with passenger volumes down by 8% and 5% respectively.  Cargo declines were even more dramatic for the first two quarters, down by 20% and 17%, respectively, as compared to the same periods in 2008.

Traffic in the second half of 2009 reflected the growing confidence of businesses and consumers in economic recovery, particularly visible in those countries that reported positive year-on-year GDP growth such as China, India and Brazil while other major economies including US, Japan, Germany and UK were still facing year-on-year GDP declines.
Total Passengers: 4.4 billion, -2.7%
Total International Passengers: 1.8 billion, -4.2%
Total Cargo (includes mail): 71.3 million metric tonnes, -8.2%
Total International Freight: 41.7 million metric tonnes, -10.1%
Total Aircraft Movements: 63.9 million, -5.5%