International arrivals have increased, according to the Aviation Barometer published by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), which provides an indication of current air travel trends in South Africa.  

The Barometer is based on the count of passengers using the network of nine airports owned and managed by Acsa, comparing arrivals and departures in the latest quarter with the same quarter from the previous year.

Passenger numbers at the nine airports showed growth of 3% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

International arrivals increased by 3.8%, translating to an additional 57 455 passengers, bringing the total to 1 568 230 passengers, whilst international departures rose by 4.38% with an increase of 66 674 passengers, totalling 1 589 309 passengers.

Nearly 11 million arriving and departing passengers using SA’s main airports in the fourth quarter were recorded, resulting in an increase of 321 000 passengers over the fourth quarter of 2016.

The growth of international passengers at Cape Town International Airport continued through the peak season, as international arrivals went up by 13.85%, and international departures experienced growth of 15.69% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2016.

King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu Natal experienced continuous growth in domestic passenger traffic, with arrivals up 5.63% and departures up 6.17% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Connectivity between King Shaka International and regional airports, such as East London, Port Elizabeth and Mthatha also grew, due to the opening of new routes by smaller airlines says Acsa.

Regional (Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland) arrivals increased by 1.70%, totalling 147 132 passengers. Departures also increased slightly to 1.2%, totalling 141 186 passengers.

Overall domestic travel showed strained growth, with an increase of 2.6% arrivals and 2.76% for departures in the fourth quarter of 2017.