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Airports: Vanishing Traffic, Collapsing Revenues – Analysis

The global airport industry is confronted with vanishing traffic, collapsing revenues and rising risks as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, an Airports Council International (ACI) World analysis reveals.

In its fourth economic analysis bulletin titled “The impact of COVID-19 on the airport business”, ACI says that the airport industry is anticipating a 59.6 percent reduction in passenger volumes for 2020 vis-à-vis a projected pre-COVID-19 forecast, and a 58.4 percent reduction in passengers compared to 2019.

This equates to a reduction in passengers of 5.6 billion for the year.

Along with this, the airport industry is anticipating a 60 percent drop in revenues as compared to the projected baseline.

ACI also highlighted a significant level of uncertainty surrounding the recovery trajectory, predicting that, by December, monthly traffic may reach between 27-60 percent of the projected baseline for December 2020. The most likely baseline scenario suggests passenger traffic volumes to reach 56 percent, ACI found.

Globally, passenger traffic volumes are forecast to not recover to 2019 levels before 2023 and markets that have significant international traffic will not recover until 2024.

“Airports are key drivers of economic development but, without any support from governments and with $104 billion in losses because of the devastating impact of the pandemic on aviation, it is now the time to come together to support recovery,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“Unnecessary quarantine measures are harmful to passenger confidence, so harmonized measures and a risk based approach that relies on scientific evidences will help to restore the traveller confidence and support the economy recovery of the aviation ecosystem,” he added.

ACI has provided support and assistance for airports including initiatives, like the Check & Fly app and its global Airport Health Accreditation program, to help them demonstrate that health and safety is the industry’s number one priority.

ACI World has also called on governments to follow a robust and consistent protocol for testing which should be implemented only when necessary and as an alternative to broad-brush requirements for quarantine.

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