Global air passenger traffic is growing at an “irrepressible” rate, up 6.6% in the first half of 2017 and almost certain to exceed 8 billion for the full year.
That’s the view of Airports Council International (ACI) which says air transport demand “continues to march to the beat of its own drum” despite geopolitical risks and other economic factors.
In its 2017 half-year analysis, ACI says there is “a growing disconnect between global gross domestic product growth levels, which have remained modest after 2011, and passenger traffic growth, which continues to be robust year after year”.
It said many of the factors behind this are microeconomic in nature and directly related to industry dynamics.
ACI predicts that passenger traffic will continue to rise rapidly in the short-term, based on a projected compounded annual growth rate of 6.5% per annum and “will undoubtedly exceed the 8 billion mark in 2017.”
It said domestic traffic will continue to climb steadily over the next two years, especially in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, with global growth of 5.3%. Despite the recent growth in domestic traffic, the gains will primarily come from a projected 8.4% rise in international traffic.
However the organisation warned that the industry must be cognisant of the impediments that could curtail the continued rise in demand.
“Specifically, these are related to geo-political unrest, terrorism and threats to security in certain parts of the world. Physical capacity considerations and potential bottlenecks in air transport infrastructure also pose challenges in accommodating future air transport demand.”
“Finally, protectionist policies that retreat from further economic integration and air transport liberalisation could have adverse contractionary effect on the air transport industry.”
ACI President Angela Gittens said: “In this new era of geopolitical strife and terror, coupled with the wave of protectionist rhetoric that has swept many major economies, clear downside risks have revealed themselves as we end 2017 and approach 2018.”
“Even with the prevailing strength in consumer confidence across major economies and relatively sound economic fundamentals as our backdrop, cautious optimism should be the prevailing sentiment in our industry.”
21st September 2017