Airports Council International (ACI) reported that the global passenger traffic increased 3.5% year over year in February 2017 which was below the past 12-month growth trend of 5.3%.

February year-over-year traffic growth was distorted by the timing of the Chinese New Year that fell in January as opposed to February last year, and the fact that 2016 was also a leap year. The world’s airports reported a rise of 5.7% in international passenger traffic and 1.9% in domestic traffic. Accumulated total passenger traffic growth for January and February was 5.6% YoY.

At the regional level, the Middle East led passenger traffic growth with a robust 8.3% YoY increase in February, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific which reported growth of 5.5% and 5.1% respectively.

Europe’s higher growth rate was the result of the strengthening of several economies in the region and the continued expansion of the low cost carrier business model. Due mainly to a weak domestic market in February, North America and Latin America-Caribbean inched up their respective passenger traffic by 0.7% and 0.5%.

Africa was the only region that witnessed a decline of 1.9% in passenger traffic, attributed to the ongoing weakness in the region’s biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as ongoing security concerns in Egypt.

Airports Council International (ACI) reported that in January 2017, overall passenger traffic grew 7.7% year over year and, according to the council, it was boosted by the Chinese New Year.

Air freight volumes surged 7.8% as compared to the previous year at the global level. International freight posted a greater growth rate than domestic freight at 9.6% and 3.1% respectively.

According to ACI, much of the rise is attributed to the timing of the Chinese New Year. As a result, Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai-Pudong (PVG), Seoul-Incheon (ICN) and Tokyo-Narita (NRT) reported traffic gains of 14.1%, 20.8%, 17% and 11.9% respectively.

Based on the global sample of airports, 17 of the top 20 airports in terms of air freight volumes experienced year-over-year growth for February, including Miami (MIA, 7.8%), Frankfurt (FRA, 2.2%), Doha (DOH, 24.5%), Los Angeles (LAX, 8%) and Amsterdam (AMS, 7%).

Follow AeroTime on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with aviation news!