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Results for Africa plummet by 21%

Global passenger traffic rises moderately in February

Global passenger traffic at airports grew by almost 4 percent in February, with international up by 4.5 and domestic by 3.4 percent. Freight volumes stagnated for the month reflecting a decrease of 3.3 percent in domestic freight traffic.  were heavily hit by political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia resulting in 21 percent decline in the Africa region, with drastic reductions seen for Cairo (-54%), Sharm El Sheikh (-71%), Tunis (-31%). Bahrain…

Global passenger traffic at airports grew by almost 4 percent in February, with international up by 4.5 and domestic by 3.4 percent. Freight volumes stagnated for the month reflecting a decrease of 3.3 percent in domestic freight traffic.

North African airports were heavily hit by political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia resulting in 21 percent decline in the Africa region, with drastic reductions seen for Cairo (-54%), Sharm El Sheikh (-71%), Tunis (-31%). Bahrain also recorded implications of the social unrest with a 15% passenger decline. The drop of tourism-related traffic in North Africa travel seems to have boosted results at other leisure destinations, benefiting particularly alternative destinations in Spain and Turkey. Sharp growth was reported by Fuerteventura (+34%), Sevilla (+20%), Tenerife (+13%), Lanzarote and Gran Canaria (+11%) and Antalya (+20%).

Overall, February saw further consolidation of growth. In light of 6.8 percent growth during the reference period one year ago, the 3.9 percent global growth this February, despite the Africa decrease, remains positive. Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East show homogeneous growth rates between 5 and 6 percent whereas North America’s passenger figures expanded by 2.8 percent. International traffic grew faster than domestic in North America (+3.4%), Europe (+6.1%) and Asia Pacific (+7.7%). The rolling 12 months figure remains high at 6.4% just slightly below the peak of 6.9% reached in January.

One third of airports in the PaxFlash sample reported negative growth for February, a comparatively high proportion mainly tied to decreases seen at North African airports that would normally have risen during this tourism period.

ACI Director Economics Andreas Schimm comments, "The impact of the social and political crisis in North Africa on overall global traffic is limited, yet for the individual airports that were accustomed to rapid growth, it represents a very severe situation as both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues plunge.

"While the situation in North Africa remains fragile with the focus shifting to Libya, the effects of the natural and nuclear disaster in Japan that occurred in March will have a far bigger impact on March results both in the Asia-Pacific region as well as depressing global passenger numbers."

The freight situation is more sobering as there was no growth in February globally. The stagnation comes relative to a 22 percent increase in the reference period February 2010. Asia Pacific and the Middle East recorded declines of 3.4 and 9.3 percent respectively. While the drop seen in Asia Pacific was mostly caused by domestic freight decreases, Middle East freight is international only. Globally, however, international freight continued to expand by 1.6 percent.

Schimm adds, "It would be misleading to interpret these figures as a precursor to a cooling world economy. Growth rates were exceptionally high during the first half of the 2010 reference period, and the situation is already positive if the volumes reached then can be upheld."

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