During the economic downturn passenger numbers fell remarkably. However, we noticed two interesting trends. Firstly, the record slump was mostly with local passengers, best in class airports were stable or increased their transfer passengers. Secondly, the peaks grew! Traffic grew where there is most value added which is obviously in the peaks. Difficult times for airport operation managers who ask for more resources while passenger figures are going down.
I spoke to a head of operations recently who was struggling with consultants who were trying to convince him that over time his airport would grow in off-peak. Definitely worth thinking about when you do your planning. Our experience shows that airports grow in peaks.
See this example: At this airport, the number of days with peak traffic increased dramatically. You will notice that year to date 2010 there were already 9 days with more than 75'000 passengers and 7 days with more than 80'000 passengers.