February 2019: Passengers up 2.7% in Asia-Pacific and 2.5% in Middle East
- 07 May 2019
Passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East recorded moderate growth in February at +2.7% and +2.5% respectively.
China posted a robust growth of approximately +7.0% in passenger traffic from last year, sustained by solid domestic demands and supported by increased leisure travel demand during the Lunar New Year. The top three airports with the most passenger volume increase from last year were: Shenzhen (SZX) +11.0%, Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) +12.7% and Beijing (PEK) +4.2%.
Passenger growth in India increased approximately +2.2% from last year and continued to trend downward especially in the domestic sector. Passenger traffic this month was negatively affected by a number of factors, such as partial runway closures at Mumbai (BOM) -7.7% and Bangalore (BLR) +8.9%, closure of Pakistani airspace arising from India-Pakistan tensions, and flight cancellations of a major airline. Mixed results were observed among other major airports in the country: Delhi (DEL) -3.0%, Chennai (MAA) +5.5% and Kolkata (CCU) +3.9%.
Elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, a number of airports reported strong growth likely benefited from vacation travels during the Lunar New Year: Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) grew +5.3% and +3.0% respectively.
In the Middle East, passenger growth continued to soften. Dubai (DXB), the largest hub in the region, declined -1.3%. Bahrain (BAH) continued to report the highest growth in the region at +15.8%. Other high-growth airports in February included: Doha (DOH) +6.1%, Muscat (MCT) +9.9% and Sharjah (SHJ) +8.5%.
In terms of air freight, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East declined at -12.0% and -2.9% respectively due to the ongoing trade tensions between China and the United States, uncertain global economic conditions and closure of businesses during the Lunar New Year. Dubai (DXB) +2.0% was the only airport posting a positive growth rate among the top ten cargo hubs. The growth was largely driven by the increase in transportation of perishable goods. Other major airports that recorded positive growth rates were: Delhi (DEL) +10.2%, Mumbai (BOM) +1.0% and Manila (MNL) +2.9%.
TABLE 1: Preliminary year-on-year traffic growth rates for Airports reporting highest traffic volume in the respective size category in February 2019