July 29, 2016: Airports Company South Africa launched its inaugural aviation barometer, a quarterly indicator of air traffic movements through its nine airports. The barometer will provide a snapshot of the state of air traffic relating to passengers and cargo and the trends which underpin aeronautical data.
The Airports Company South Africa Aviation Barometer will report on domestic, regional and international arrivals and departures. The inaugural aviation barometer covered the first and second quarters of 2016.
Overall departures and arrivals increased by 8.4 percent and 8.6 percent respectively when compared with the first quarter of 2015. This was driven chiefly by a strong performance in the domestic market during the summer holiday season and the Easter holidays in March. Total passenger arrivals in the first quarter amounted 4.9 million while total departures amounted to a corresponding 4.47 million passengers.
During the first quarter domestic arrivals increased by a healthy 11.4 percent to just over 3.4 million passengers when compared to the corresponding period in 2015. With an earlier than usual Easter holiday period in March, there was a significant uptick in passenger numbers during that month to 1.2 million (2015: 1.1 million) arrivals. Domestic departures in the first quarter showed a corresponding increase of 11.3 percent to 3.4 million when compared to the prior year. International arrivals increased by 2.3 percent to 1.3 million with strong growth in January as visa regulations were relaxed for certain markets. International departures were up 3.1 percent to 1.3 million passengers.
In the second quarter of 2016, there were 4.54 million arrivals and 4.69 million departures across the network of airports owned and operated by Airports Company South Africa, increases of 4.6 percent and 5.8 percent respectively compared to 2015. This performance was due primarily to continued solid growth in domestic arrivals (up 4.9 percent) and departures (up 6.6 percent) and an encouraging uptick in in regional passenger traffic. Domestic arrivals and departures are now running at well in excess of 3.2 million per quarter.
The absolute number of passengers through the six regional airports is relatively small compared to domestic and international traffic, running in excess of 130,000 passengers each way per quarter. However, the second quarter of 2016 showed most encouraging growth with regional arrivals up nearly 7 percent and departures up by 8.3 percent. In spite of continuing challenges and disruptions in the global economy in the second quarter, international passenger arrivals (up 3.2 percent) and departures (up 3.6 percent) maintained reasonable growth compared to the second quarter of 2015.
It is expected that over time the barometer will provide a useful insight into the status of the aviation industry domestically and could serve as a partial indicator of the performance of the country’s tourism sector through the tracking of international and regional arrivals.
Airports Company South Africa’s chief executive, Bongani Maseko says: “We are pleased to see that passenger traffic remains strong and consistent across various quarters when compared on a year-to year basis. What stands out in the figures we are publishing today is that South Africa is maintaining its ability to attract international visitors, while domestic air travel remains resilient.”
“The consistent strength of air travel to and from local and international destinations underpins our aim to continue developing our infrastructure to support long-term economic growth.”
Maseko concludes, “The continued development of the aerotropolis zones around our three largest international airports will create vital business hubs for South Africa and the continent.”