Nearly 4.8 billion passengers arrived and departed the world’s airports in 2007, a growth of 6.8 percent on the previous year. Airports Council International (ACI) released its full year 2007 World Airport Traffic Report, based on input from 1200 airports worldwide. Speaking at a conference of African airport executives in Accra, Ghana, ACI’s Director General Angela Gittens said that the 2007 growth was…
Nearly 4.8 billion passengers arrived and departed the world’s airports in 2007, a growth of 6.8 percent on the previous year. Airports Council International (ACI) released its full year 2007 World Airport Traffic Report, based on input from 1200 airports worldwide. Speaking at a conference of African airport executives in Accra, Ghana, ACI’s Director General Angela Gittens said that the 2007 growth was a positive sign, but cautioned that preliminary data from the first half of 2008 showed growth was easing.
“The monthly traffic reports for the first five months of 2008 show that traffic growth is slowing, with 3 percent increase each for passengers and freight. Although we are still expanding, particularly in international traffic, we see some clouds on the horizon: slowing economies in certain nations and regions, the high price of fuel, airline financial difficulties, to name a few. Long-term forecasts remain positive, nonetheless, at an average of about 4 percent per year over the next 20 years.”
The busiest airports in the world remained in their dominant position, Atlanta staying on top with over 89 million passengers, followed by Chicago O’Hare (76m), London Heathrow (68m), Tokyo Haneda (67m) and Los Angeles (62m). However, when just international traffic is taken into account, the top five busiest airports are London Heathrow (62m), Paris Charles de Gaulle (55m), Amsterdam (48m), Frankfurt (47m) and Hong Kong (46m).
The report showed that the fastest growth in passengers occurred in the Middle East with an 11.3 percent increase, followed by Africa (11.2%) and Asia-Pacific (9.1%). The North America region showed the slowest growth at 3.5 percent, demonstrating the region’s maturity as well as the capacity and congestion issues it faces. Europe showed growth of 7.4 percent and, at 31 percent of world passengers, looks set to overtake North America (32%) as the largest region for air traffic in the next few years if current growth patterns hold.
While worldwide passenger numbers grew by nearly 7 percent, the growth in aircraft movements was at 2.4 percent, showing that the industry worldwide has moved to larger aircraft and are flying with higher load factors. Aircraft movements handled by the world’s airports totaled 76.4 million last year. Nine out of the top ten airports with highest aircraft movements are in the USA, reflecting the large share of domestic and regional traffic in that market.
The growth in cargo traffic slowed slightly to 3.2 percent over the previous year, with 88.5 million metric tonnes handled in 2007, possibly due to the increase in fuel price pushing cargo traffic to other transport means. Once again, the hub of FedEx airlines, Memphis, was the largest cargo airport in the world, followed by Hong Kong and Anchorage. However, Memphis traffic is predominantly domestic cargo which is why it doesn’t appear on the list of top ten airports handling international freight, where Asian airports dominate.
The report also revealed that nine out of the top ten fastest growing airports in 2007 were in Asia-Pacific. The fastest growing market for passengers was India with 24 percent growth and the largest single market in the world remains the USA, which handled 1.4 billion passengers last year. The second largest market was China with 350 million passengers and third was the United Kingdom with just under 250 million.
The trend for robust growth at small- and medium-sized airports outpacing growth at large airports continued in 2007 with the ‘under 5 million passenger’ category growing almost three times faster than more congested and capacity constrained airports in the ‘over 40 million passenger’ category.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.