Don Muang shows highest growth in Asia-Pacific


Don Muang shows highest growth in Asia-Pacific

Statistics compiled by Airports of Thailand (AoT) showed the low-cost carrier Don Muang airport recorded a whopping 42.2 percent jump in passenger throughput in April this year. This was way above the Asia-Pacific region’s average growth rate in that month of just 9.3 percent, according to figures released by Airports Council International (ACI).

Translated into numbers, this means Don Muang airport handled 2.51 million passengers in April, up from 1.76 million from April 2014. Of course that latter figure must be viewed in the context of what was happening on the ground in Bangkok and elsewhere at the time in terms of the political protests against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. Those protests had severely impacted tourist numbers and less than a month later the military stepped in to take over the running of the country.

Even so, the numbers are impressive, although they need to be taken in context as well with what was happening around the region, April being the Easter month and many schools across the region were on holidays. As the ACI noted, several regional airports reported strong year-on-year growth, with India’s Mumbai topping the list at a 20.7 percent growth, followed by Shanghai’s Pudong airport at 19.9 percent and South Korea’s Incheon at 18.9 percent.

Don Muang, for 92 years the only airport in Bangkok, has become one of Asia’s largest low-cost carrier centres and this is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Based on the figures available to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger travel on international routes rose by 3.8 percent in April compared with 2014. Effectively, this suggests overall global economic conditions are improving, albeit at what are considered sluggish rates.

Naturally, the numbers vary from region to region with European travel up by 4.8 percent overall whereas the Far East has risen by a substantial 11.7 percent, indicating both a greater interest in the region from international travellers from Europe and the Americas as well as strong internal traffic from people within the region. This is especially the case with China where locals are increasingly able to afford trips to nearby countries, especially Thailand.

The biggest concern though for airports is the sluggish level of growth in air freight. Cargo haulage figures grew by a small 2.9 percent across the Asia-Pacific in April, which reflected weaker demand from Europe and the slowdown across all Asian markets. New Delhi showed the biggest growth in the Asia-Pacific marketplace at 19 percent while Dubai topped the Middle East with 19.6 percent growth.