Chinese airlines growing over 25% internationally in 2016; domestic growth just under 10%; Beijing losing ground to Atlanta for total pax
With dramatic world events elsewhere, concerns about a slowdown in the rate of growth of the Chinese economy seem to have been forgotten about, at least for now. However, if the passenger traffic figures from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) are any indication of the state of the Chinese economy, things are still fairly healthy. Last year Chinese airlines saw passenger growth of 11.1%, with international traffic (+33.3%) growing much faster than domestic traffic (+9.2%). However, the international market is still relatively small in passenger numbers compared with the domestic market. The pattern for 2016 is similar. In the first five months of the year passengers carried on local carriers increased by 10.5%, with international growth (+26.1%) almost three times greater than domestic growth (+8.8%).
However, international growth in May was a more modest 16.7%. This is the slowest rate of growth since September 2014 when the number of passengers on international routes grew by 14.5%. May was also the fourth straight month when the international growth rate fell compared with the previous month.
Nanjing and Kunming fastest-growing among China’s top 15 airports
Among China’s top 15 airports eight reported double-digit growth in 2015, with Nanjing (+17.7%), just beating Kunming (+16.8%) and Shanghai Pudong (+16.3%). Beijing’s on-going capacity issues resulted in it being only the 12th fastest-growing among the top 15 airports, with passenger numbers up 4.4% to 89.9 million, leaving it still some way behind Atlanta which reached the 100 million passenger milestone in 2015 (101.5 million to be exact). Dubai in third place (and still reporting double-digit growth) is now closer to Beijing than Beijing is to Atlanta.There were some significant changes in the rankings in 2015. Shanghai Pudong passed Guangzhou for second place, thanks to impressive 16.3% growth. However, Shanghai Hongqiao dropped two places from fourth to sixth as both Chengdu and Shenzhen moved up a place to fourth and fifth respectively. Nanjing’s impressive growth of almost 18% saw it leapfrog four places from 16th to 12th with the 20 million passenger mark now a formality in 2016.
In 2015 a total of 26 Chinese airports handled at least 10 million passengers, up from 24 in both 2013 and 2014. The two airports to join the 10-million club are Fuzhou Changle International Airport (10.9 million passengers in 2015) and Nanning Wuxu International Airport (10.4 million). The next airport to join this club is likely to be Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport which grew by 9.3% last year to 9.52 million passengers.