Once again international traffic (+10.5%) outperformed domestic traffic (+7.5%) with the divergence being particularly pronounced in North America where international passengers (+7.5%) grew more than double over domestic (+3.6%). The 12-month rolling results jumped to 6 percent raising hopes that 2010 might finish with worldwide growth of over 5 percent. The third quarter was clearly the strongest quarter in 2010 with growth of 7.5 percent overall, split 8.5 percent international and 6 percent domestic growth.
September traffic in Africa and the Middle East benefited from the earlier Ramadan (in August) and had robust increases of 14 percent and 20 percent in international traffic respectively. The large international hubs are at the forefront of positive results. London Heathrow (+7.5%), Frankfurt (+10.5%), Hong Kong (+17%), Dubai (+25%), Shanghai Pudong (+36%), Munich (+11%), Singapore (+11%), Incheon (+22%), Sao Paulo (+28.5%) and Moscow Sheremetjevo (+32%) contributed to booming international travel driven by a strong return of business travel to the market and demand for long haul travel. The figures also largely reflect the economic growth numbers reported by Brazil, China and Germany generating strong business activity and consumer confidence in emerging and export oriented markets.
The trend of slowing growth in the freight sector continued in September. Overall tonnage expanded by 11.5 percent significantly down from its peak of +28 percent in May. On a quarterly basis freight grew by 15 percent in the third quarter contrasting quite strongly with growth of 24 percent in the first two quarters. The slowdown is slightly more pronounced in the domestic sector which only grew by a comparatively low percent whereas international freight increased by 14 percent.