Global air passenger traffic increased by 4.9% in 2011 to 4931.2 million passengers according to a report by Airports Council International.
Globally airports reported a 0.1% decline in cargo volume compared to 2010 while aircraft movements rose by 2% during 2011 to 64.7 million.
ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, said: "2011 could best be described as a year of global uncertainty."
"Cargo traffic slowed for most of the year as business confidence deteriorated in light of the looming eurozone debt crisis," Gittens said.
"International passenger traffic remained relatively unaffected by economies in Europe and North America teetering towards recession.
"Despite economic instability and political unrest in many regions of the world, overall, airports continued to experience sustained global passenger growth as compared to 2010."
According to the ACI preliminary traffic results, based on reports from over 900 airports worldwide, the monthly passenger growth during the period was between 3 to 6% except during April when passenger traffic rose 10.8%.
In 2011 airports in Latin America reported a 8.6% rise in passenger traffic while the Middle East reported a 8.4% rise and Asia-pacific reported a 5.7% rise in passenger traffic.
In Asia-Pacific region New Delhi airport (DEL) in India, Jakarta airport in Indonesia (CGK) and Bangkok (BKK) airport in Thailand have reported double digit growth of about 21.7%, 19.2% and 12% respectively while the Rio de Janeiro (GIG) airport in Brazil has recorded 20.5% rise during the year.
European airports reported 7.1% rise in passenger traffic, with Barcelona (BCN) reporting 17.8% rise, airports of Moscow (DME; SVO) and Istanbul (IST) have reported 16% rise compared to the previous year while North Africa reported 5.9% decline in 2011.
The report revealed that in terms of cargo traffic in 2011, Asia and North America have reported respective declines of 1.5% and 0.6% while Europe reported 1.2% rise in cargo traffic in 2011.
Latin America-Caribbean regions have reported 5.5% rise in aircraft movements, and Asia-Pacific, Europe and Middle East reported 5.2%, 3.4% and 2.9% rise in aircraft movements compared to 2010.
Aircraft movements in North America and Africa declined 0.7% and 0.1% respectively during 2011.
Image: ACI World director general Angela Gittens. Photo: ACI