Johannesburg handled 18.4 million passengers in 2008; domestic demand now down 15-20%

Image: South African Airways resumed flights from Johannesburg to Buenos Aires
South African Airways resumed flights from Johannesburg to Buenos Aires in April. Johannesburg handles over half of all the country’s air passengers.

100th Edition of anna.aeroAirport traffic in South Africa is dominated by O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg which handles over half of all the country’s air passengers. In 2008 the airport handled around 18.4 million passengers, a reduction of 4.4% over the previous year. In the first five months of 2009 passenger numbers are down a further 11.1%, though in April and May the decline was less than 9%.

Chart: Domestic passengers at JNB
Source: ACSA

Domestic traffic in South Africa has fallen this year to a level somewhere between that achieved in 2005 and 2006, around 15-20% down on the peak achieved during 2007. During this time Nationwide, a local airline, collapsed.

International demand declining but not as quickly

International traffic was still growing as recently as last July, but since then year-on-year demand has been down around 5% (though in February and March it was closer to 12%).

Chart: International passengers at JNB
Source: ACSA

Logo: FIFA 2010In the financial year to March 2009 Johannesburg traffic was down 8.1% to 17.9 million, while Cape Town saw traffic drop by 7.3% to 7.8 million passengers. Traffic at South Africa’s third busiest airport of Durban also fell during the last financial year by 10.4% to 4.3 million. For the most recent months of April and May Durban traffic was down 9.2% and 3.8% respectively.

Work is progressing on the new Durban airport at La Mercy which should be operational in early 2010 well in time for the country’s staging of the FIFA World Cup.

Image: The new Durban airport at La Mercy – King Shaka International Airport
The new Durban airport at La Mercy – King Shaka International Airport – will open in 2010, in time for South Africa hosting the FIFA World Cup.

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