International growth fails to compensate for domestic decline at Johannesburg

Image: Cake celebration
Emirates launched a daily service between Dubai and Cape Town on 30 March. Adnan Kazim, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Africa, said: “Cape Town represents Emirates’ commitment to the South African market. Our Johannesburg operation has been very successful and we look forward to recreating this success in Cape Town with the support of our partners.”

Logo: ACSAFor the financial year ended 31 March 2008 South Africa’s top seven airports handled some 36 million passengers, up a very healthy 10.3% compared with the previous year. South Africa’s busiest airport (O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg) reported traffic growth of 9.3% to 19.46 million, followed by Cape Town (up 12.1% to 8.43 million) and Durban (up 12.6% to 4.79 million).

The grounding of Nationwide Airlines last December was the first sign of a slowing in domestic traffic growth. However, since April this year the decline in domestic demand at Johannesburg airport (JNB) has accelerated from 6% in April to 12% in July.

Chart: Domestic passengers at JNB
Source: ACSA

Since the start of the latest financial year in April domestic traffic at JNB is down 9.4% from 3.65 million passengers to 3.30 million.

International demand still growing, but slowing

Growth in international passenger numbers at JNB which averaged over 10% in 2007 appears to be slowing. While averaging 7% to 8% for the first five months of 2008, in June international traffic at JNB was up only 3.6% and in July just 0.9%.

International passengers at JNB
Source: ACSA

With domestic traffic volumes higher than international ones at JNB, positive total traffic growth in the first three months of 2008 has been followed by traffic falls of 0.1% in April, 2.5% in May, 4.3% in June and 6.4% in July. Since April Cape Town has also reported a drop in total traffic of 4.2%.


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