Friday, August 5, 2011

Move over London Heathrow! Beijing Capital Airport now world's second busiest-Emerging Trends

Posted by- Neelam Mathews

Aug 5, 2011

That Asia is growing in traffic numbers is clear. Preparing for future growth is also fruitful. Beijing Capital should know. It became the world’s second busiest airport in 2010, with passenger growth surging 13.1% to 73.9 million passengers. In reaching the number two spot, Beijing Capital leapfrogged London Heathrow, which has also dropped below Chicago O’Hare.

Beijing is now closing the gap to Atlanta which continues to be the world’s largest airport with 89.3 million passengers in 2010 (+1.5%), says Airports Council International (ACI).Beijing airport was 14th globally as recently as five years ago with 41 million passengers, a figure now matched by airports in both Guangzhou and Shanghai.

A look at the 25 fastest growing airports also reveals the shift in growth patterns. Of the 25 fastest growing markets, only one was in North America, at Milwaukee. Europe had eight airports in the top 25 in 2010, with all but one of these in Eastern Europe. Istanbul was the world’s fastest growing airport, with growth of 74.7% year-on-year to 11.6 million passengers in 2010. Latin America and Asia Pacific both had six airports in the top 25 fastest growing airports list, while the Middle East had three and Africa one.

Challenges remain, with ACI World’s Director of Economics Andreas Schimm noting that even against the backdrop of growth, “there is considerable uncertainty about oil prices, concern over sovereign debt, volatility in exchange rates, and in the U.S, slowing growth and persistent unemployment".

All told, there is a lot to worry about, particularly in the developed economies. Growth in emerging and developing nations, however, is expected by the IMF to continue at a rapid clip, giving us considerable reason for further optimism about the remainder of the year.

ACI, in its report, presented data from 1,318 airports in 157 countries, revealing the following key trends:
  • Worldwide airport passenger numbers increased by 6.6% in 2010 to 5.04 billion, registering increases in all six regions;
  • Worldwide domestic traffic increased by 5.8% while international traffic jumped by 7.7%;
  • Worldwide aircraft movements increased 1.1% to 74 million;
  • Total cargo volumes handled by airports jumped by 15.3% to 91.0 million tonnes;
  • 69% of airports worldwide registered positive passenger growth at an average of 8.6%, while 30% of airports lost traffic at an average rate of -4.1%.
Based on previously reported preliminary 2010 ACI data, the biggest improver in the Top 30 passenger traffic list for 2010 was Shanghai Pudong Airport, which surged 14 places to 20th position just behind mainland Chinese counterpart Guangzhou, which rose three places. Shanghai Pudong, which reported a 27.2% increase in passenger traffic last year, replaced Newark in the global Top 30. There were three Chinese airports among the world’s 30 largest passenger airports (four including Hong Kong), while the U.S had 13 airports in the top 30. Germany was the only other nation with more than one airport in the list.

Other notable performers, based on this previously reported data, included Jakarta, which jumped seven places to 16th largest and Singapore, which rose from 21st to 18th place. Dubai gained two places to 13th. Only two airports in the top 30 did not grow in 2010, Las Vegas (-2.6%) and London Heathrow (-0.2%). Charlotte (+10.4%) was the only large airport outside the Asia Pacific region and Middle East growing by more than 10%.

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