Tourism “Irrepressible” Says ACI


The latest world airport traffic report is likely to provide yet more grist for the `rein-in-the-Gulf-carriers’ campaign being orchestrated by America’s Big Three carriers, reports Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

The 2014 figures, from Airports Council International (ACI), show that Dubai has leapfrogged over London Heathrow to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic.

According to the Montreal-based organization, DXB counted 69.9 million arriving, departing and direct transit passengers last year – up 6.2% from 2013 – while number-two LHR’s total grew only 1.1% to 68.1 million.

It’s almost inevitable that American, Delta and United will seize on the new numbers to bolster their argument that Dubai’s Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Qatar Airways are abusing Open Skies and should be subject to capacity constraints.

ACI director general Angela Gittens revealed that, overall, global passenger traffic grew at more than 5% last year; outstripping the 4.3% average annual growth rate achieved over the previous decade.

She stated, “International tourism in particular was irrepressible in 2014 considering the geopolitical risks that have persisted in certain parts of the world such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East.”

Gittens added, “The Ebola outbreak also presented significant challenges to the aviation sector but, notwithstanding, the international traveller in 2014 appears to have been immune to these potential dangers.”

The ACI boss noted that, in previous years, there was a “marked divergence” in growth between airports located in emerging markets and those in advanced economies, with the up-and-coming markets posting by far the highest gains year after year.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.