On the back of a growing middle class in key emerging markets, the significant growth of intercontinental hubs in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, air transport’s nucleus continues to move eastward. This is one of the trends underlined by the 2015 World Traffic Report by Airports Council International. The report notes that the 6.4% increase in passenger traffic recorded in 2015 represents the strongest growth rate since 2010 (6.6%), the year in which it rebounded from the Great Recession.
Despite the slowing of economic growth in China, the report predicts that the country’s move away from an investment-led economy to a consumption-driven economy will further stimulate air transport demand over the long run. India is also seen poised to be one of the largest aviation markets in the world in the years to come. The combination of a move towards a more liberalized aviation market coupled with stronger economic fundamentals has helped to awaken the Bengal tiger to become one of the fastest growing markets in the world.
Among the report’s key findings
- Airport traffic in emerging markets and developing economies grew faster (8.1%) than in advanced economies (5.2%) in 2015, with emerging markets reaching a 44% share of global passenger traffic.
- During 2015, the highest number of passengers went through airports in the Asia-Pacific region (2.46 billion, +8.6%)
- With over 1.5 billion passengers, BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which represent 21.4% of global passenger traffic, achieved a strong growth of 8.2% in passenger traffic.
- Dubai was the world’s busiest international airport (measured by international passenger traffic) with 77,5 million (+10.7%), followed by London (69.8 million, +2.5%) and Hong Kong (68.1 million, +8.2%)
- Beijing was the world’s second busiest domestic airport (71.3 million, +3%) behind Atlanta (90.3 million, +5.7%)
- Hong Kong (HKG) and Memphis (MEM) took the first and second ranks respectively for the busiest air cargo airports with 4.5 and 4.3 million metric tonnes in 2015.
- Airports in the Asia-Pacific region handled the largest amount of air cargo during 2015 (41.1 million tonnes, +2.3%)
- The world’s busiest international airports in terms of international freight traffic were Hong Kong (4.38 million tonnes, +0.1%), Dubai, (2.51 million tonnes, +3.4%) and Incheon (2.49 million tonnes, +0.6%).