April air passenger traffic grew 6.7 percent

April air passenger traffic increased by 6.7%, driven by a 9% rise in international travel and 4.8% growth in domestic flights, according to Airports Council International (ACI). Air freight also maintained momentum in April.

Middle East

All regions worldwide saw gains in passenger traffic with the Middle East reporting 14.7% growth.

Several middle-eastern airports serve as major international hubs and include some of the fastest-growing airports in the world, such as Abu Dhabi (AUH), Doha (DOH) and Dubai (DXB).

Reported gains for April were as follows:

  • Dubai: 13.7%,
  • Doha: 17.5%,
  • Abu Dhabi: 22.5%.

Dubai (DXB) is ranked third in terms of passenger traffic on a year-to-year basis, with nearly 25 million passengers reported during the first four months of this year.


In Europe, April passenger traffic surged by 9% compared to April 2013. Growth was as follows at three major European airports:

  • London-Heathrow (LHR): 6.4%,
  • Paris (CDG): 7.9%,
  • Istanbul (IST): 9.9%.

Latin America and Caribbean

The Latin American and Caribbean domestic markets, which the ACI describes as “huge”, continue to expand.

Below are figures for April growth in three major airports (domestic traffic):

  • Sao Paulo (GRU): 16%,
  • Mexico City: (MEX): 12.4%,
  • Cancun (CUN): 10.7%.

Air freight

Overall improvements in world trade plus the recovery in global demand have pushed air freight markets forward.

Year-over-year air freight volumes grew in all regions with the exception of Africa. North America and Asia-Pacific, the two biggest global air freight markets, reported growth of 5% each.

Below are figures for April growth in air freight in three major hubs:

  • Shanghai (PVG): 10.6%,
  • Memphis(MEM): 9.3%,
  • Hong Kong (HKG): 6%.

Strong growth despite Easter effect

ACI World’s Economics Director, Rafael Echevarne, said that even after adjusting for the Easter effect on April’s passenger numbers, air transport demand is definitely on a significantly strong growth path.

Over the twelve-month period ending on April 30th 2013, twenty-seven of the top 30 airports reported traffic gains.

April air passenger traffic

(Source: Airports Council International)

Mr. Echevarne added:

“Major airport hubs in emerging markets such as Dubai, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur and Sao Paulo continue to experience double-digit growth.”

“Air freight has also seen a strong turnaround since 2013. Year-over-year growth has remained in the realm of 4% over the previous six months. While there are signs of a Chinese slowdown on several fronts, the rise in global demand has boosted Chinese exports. Some key hubs in the region continue to perform well with respect to air freight volumes as compared to previous years.”

In April, the ACI reported that Atlanta remained the busiest airport in the world in 2013, with Beijing a close second and London’s Heathrow in third place.