Asia-Pacific and Middle East Airports Showed Moderation in 2018
- 01 Mar 2019
Passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East recorded growth in December at +3.8% and +2.0% respectively.
China remained the largest market in the region even though the general pace of growth in the domestic and international segments continued trending downwards. Total passenger traffic growth from last year was approximately +3.9% in December. Beijing (PEK), the largest hub in the region, grew +3.0% and reached the 100 million passenger mark during the month. The three airports with the most total passenger volume increase from last year were Guangzhou (CAN) +4.8%, Beijing (PEK) +3.0%, Shenzhen (SZX) +5.0%.
India continued generating the highest growth in the region with approximately +8.4% increase of total passenger traffic from last year. The overall India market is showing signs of slowdown but the domestic sector managed to deliver growth at +9.6% in December. The three airports with highest total passenger volume increase from last year were: Bangalore (BLR) +22.6%, Hyderabad (HYD) + 13.1% and Chennai (MAA) +11.1%.
Elsewhere in the region, the volcano eruption in Indonesia negatively impacted the results at a number of the country’s airports during the month. The impact however seemed to be limited on Jakarta (CGK) which still recorded growth of +2.0%.
In the Middle East, passenger traffic growth continued showing mixed results in December. Dubai (DXB), the largest hub in the region, declined -1.7%. Bahrain (BAH) +22.6% posted the highest growth rate in the region, followed by Muscat (MCT) at +11.8% and Sharjah (SHJ) at +9.7%.
For the year 2018, preliminary figures showed that Asia-Pacific and the Middle East grew +6.6% and +2.1% respectively. The year started off with robust passenger demands but growth trend began easing throughout the second half of 2018. In Asia-Pacific, most of the growth continued to be generated in China and India. The two countries together contributed more than 60% of the traffic increase in the region. In the Middle East, passenger traffic growth showed a larger degree of volatility, trending downwards as demands softened.
In terms of air freight, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East declined -2.5% and -0.9% respectively due to weakened global economy, reduction in exports and manufacturing activities. Among the top ten cargo hubs, Doha (DOH) +6.8% posted the highest growth rate, followed by Guangzhou (CAN) +4.7% and Dubai (DXB) +2.3%.
For the year 2018, air freight in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East grew marginally at +2.4% and +0.1% respectively. Both regions experienced a slowdown in the second half of the year. Uncertainties resulting from trade disputes and slower economy was ameliorated somewhat by growth in the e-commerce and pharmaceutical sectors. The impact and uncertainties of the trade war between China and the US will continue to cast a shadow over the air freight demands in 2019.