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HomeAsia-PacificSteepest declines in Middle East, Asia/Pacific SARS and IRAQ war cause sharp drop in March passenger traffic

Steepest declines in Middle East, Asia/Pacific SARS and IRAQ war cause sharp drop in March passenger traffic

Global passenger traffic declined sharply in March 2003 over March 2002 according to data from a sample of…

Global passenger traffic declined sharply in March 2003 over March 2002 according to data from a sample of 87 major airports, which represent over 54 percent of total global passenger traffic. Overall, passenger traffic was down 4.6 percent from the previous March, with all 6 regions reporting reduced passenger numbers.

The impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) caused traffic in the Asia/Pacific region to plummet 7.4 percent over March 2002. The war in Iraq had a major impact on traffic in the Middle East region, where traffic declined 23.2 percent, and a general effect of dampening demand for travel worldwide. International traffic was hardest hit, with passengers down 7.1 percent. Domestic traffic was less affected, falling 1.6 percent. Other factors contributing to the slump were the continuing sluggishness of the world economy and the late Easter holiday (April 20). Easter holiday air traffic did not begin in earnest until early April.

Ironically, the Asia/Pacific region had been the only bright spot in passenger traffic over the past year, showing growth of 3.8 percent in 2002 over 2001, by far the highest of any of the six regions. The impact of SARS deepened in April, as many new cases were reported in China, and ACI anticipates that April will show an even more pronounced reduction in traffic in the Asia/Pacific until the disease is fully under control and passenger confidence is restored.

Sizing up the March data, ACI Director General Robert J. Aaronson said: This dose of bad news could not come at a worse time for our industry. These statistics prove that the rebound we had all anticipated is once again postponed, exacerbating an already fragile financial situation for airports and their industry partners. Long term, we are still optimistic about the fundamentals for traffic growth, but the industry is clearly entering a crisis mode in coping with its current problems, all of which were created by problems external to our sector.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

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.

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