Airports Council International (ACI) has reported a 3.2% increase in worldwide passenger traffic in the first half of 2013.
During the last 12 months passenger traffic growth remained positive, though growth slowed to 2.9% on an annualised basis, due weakening of domestic markets in North America and Europe.
Over the period from July 2012 to June 2013, a flat growth in domestic passenger traffic was recorded in North America and a decline of 3.1% in domestic traffic in European airports.
Kula Lumpur (KUL), Dubai (DXB) and Istanbul (IST) were among the world’s busiest airports, recording year-over-year passenger traffic growth of 22.3%, 17.5% and 12.1% respectively.
ACI world economics director Rafael Echevarne said that the loss of momentum in the demand for air transport is inevitable in Europe and North America due to the recession and overall sluggish consumer spending.
"On the other hand, emerging markets remain poised for a continued expansion as they now set the pace for growth in demand for travel as a whole," Echevarne added.
"International passenger traffic posted strong gains across all regions for the month of June. In particular, the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to many of world’s fastest growing airports, experienced an increase in their passenger traffic by 8.5% for the month."
Passenger traffic during June increased 4% with international traffic growing 5.8% and domestic passenger traffic 2.2%.
Excluding the Middle Eastern region, airports across all regions experienced a drop in freight traffic for the month of June indicated by decline of 1.1% year-over-year.
According to ACI, a sluggish international trade sector and relatively weak business confidence led to the slowdown in air freight.
Hong Kong (HKG) witnessed modest growth of 1%, Shanghai (PVG) and Incheon (ICN) saw drops of 4.1% and 1.7% respectively.
Image: Kuala Lumpur airport recorded highest growth of 22.3% in June passenger traffic.