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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

ACI Report: Africa Sees Drop in Passenger Traffic

According to the recent traffic report released by the Airports Council International, the global passenger traffic grew 4.5% in June 2016 and 5.6% for the first half of the year, while Africa saw a drop.

Africa continued to face challenges despite its economic growth prospects in the years to come. Security risks in Northern Africa curtailed traffic at major tourist destinations while plummeting oil prices stunted the economic progress of such key economies as Nigeria.

Weak overall demand across the continent, poor connectivity within the continent and a poor record of liberalizing aviation represented additional obstacles to prospective growth in traffic levels.

In Africa, passenger traffic decreased 11.8% in June 2016 and 4.4% from January to June. Passenger traffic was negatively affected by the disruption of air traffic in Egypt and significant traffic drops in Tunisia, the major leisure destinations for European travelers.

Security in Egypt remained a major concern following the October 2015 crash of a Russian airliner in Sinai and the Egypt Air accident in May 2016.

From January to June 2016, passenger traffic at Egypt’s and Tunisia’s airports fell 27.4% and 14.4% respectively. Other countries that reported traffic losses in the region were Congo (-17.3%), Mozambique (-6.9%) and Zambia (-2.8%).

South Africa—the major air transport market in Africa—reported a robust 7.3% growth rate during the first half of the year, with domestic passenger traffic outpacing international traffic (8.5% and 4.9% respectively). In Morocco, total passenger traffic grew 0.4%, the result of 5.5% growth in domestic passenger traffic.

Other important markets—Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria—reported 2.7%, 8.2% and 10.7% traffic increases respectively. International passenger traffic in Kenya and Algeria grew a robust 8.4% and 9.9% respectively during the first six months of 2016.

At the individual airport level, high traffic growth was seen at Johannesburg (JNB, +5.8% or +0.54 million passengers year-to-date), Cape Town (CPT, +8.0% or +0.36 million passengers year-to-date) and Algiers (ALG, +10.7% or +0.34 million passengers year-to-date).

Total freight traffic in Africa increased 0.7% in June compared with the previous year and declined 0.1% during the first six months of 2016.

On a country-by-country basis, the picture is consistent with the total figure. Modest growth in air freight traffic in South Africa (+2.3%) was not enough to offset air cargo traffic dips in other major markets, such as Egypt (-7.4%) and Kenya (-6.8%).

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