Passenger traffic across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East delivered strong growth in December 2016: Asia-Pacific at +9.6 percent and Middle East at +9.4 percent. For the year, Asia-Pacific recorded gains at +9 percent and Middle East +9.4 percent.
India continued to take the top spot in Asia-Pacific for December 2016 reporting outstanding increase in passenger traffic over the same period last year, driven by robust domestic passenger travels. Airports with the highest growth for the month: Chennai (MAA) +49.9 percent, Calcutta (CCU) +31.9 percent, Bangalore (BLR) +22.2 percent. In China, both international and domestic travels reported solid increase. Top runners for the month: Kunming (KMG) +15.6 percent, Guangzhou (CAN) +12.9 percent and Chengdu (CTU) +12.7 percent.
Elsewhere in the region, Seoul Incheon (ICN) registered an increase of +13.7 percent in December 2016. The South Korean market appears to be recovering well from the negative impact of Middle East respiratory syndrome crisis in 2015, and also benefited from network expansion by low cost carriers.
In the Middle East, passenger traffic growth sustained at a higher level in December 2016. Dubai (DXB), the largest hub in the region, received +9.3 percent more passengers than the same month last year. Doha (DOH) continued to generate the highest growth in the region at +15 percent.
For the year 2016, overall passenger traffic growth in both Asia-Pacific and the Middle East remained buoyant. Domestic traffic grew at a fast pace in India, whereas air carriers in China actively pursued international expansion. Furthermore, low cost carriers spurred demands in various markets as competition with full service carriers intensifies. These factors are expected to support passenger growth into the first quarter in 2017.
In terms of air freight, the overall growth trajectory continued in December 2016 in both Asia-Pacific and Middle East, recording growth at +10.9 and 10.4 percent respectively. For the year, Asia-Pacific grew +4.5 percent and Middle East grew +5.8 percent.
The growth in Asia-Pacific, for the month of December 2016, was largely driven by increased demand for the year-end rush in perishables, electronics and e-commerce. The top three freight hubs all delivered robust increase: Hong Kong (HKG) +11.3 percent, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +14.3 percent and Seoul Incheon (ICN) +13.8 percent. In the Middle East, major air freight hubs continued to report significant gains, especially in Doha (DOH) +22.6 percent and Dubai (DXB) +5.4 percent.
For the year 2016, overall air freight growth in Asia-Pacific recovered steadily since June 2016 and accelerated gradually towards year end. The increase was driven mainly by international air freight demands. In the Middle East, after a slow third quarter, overall air freight growth picked up in the fourth quarter. Doha (DOH) remained the bright spot where robust monthly growth was consistently above 20 percent in the fourth quarter.