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ACI analysis shows vanishing traffic, collapsing revenues, and rising risk

ACI World has published its fourth COVID-19 economic impact analysis bulletin

Montreal, 31 August 2020 – Airports Council International (ACI) World analysis has revealed the actual and predicted extent of the impact on the global airport business of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its fourth economic analysis bulletin – The impact of COVID-19 on the airport business ACI has revealed that the airport industry is anticipating a -59.6% reduction in passenger volumes in 2020 vis-à-vis the projected baseline (pre-COVID-19 forecast for 2020) and a -58.4% reduction in passengers as 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% reduction in revenues as compared to the projected baseline. Revenues declined by -$10.3 and -39.5 billion (figures in US Dollars) in Q1 and Q2 2020, respectively, compared to the projected baseline. The revenue shortfall is expected to lessen to -$33.4 and -21.1 billion in Q3 and Q4 2020, respectively reaching an unprecedented $104.5 billion reduction in revenue for 2020 which heavily impacts the airport business

ACI also highlighted a significant level of uncertainty surrounding the recovery trajectory, predicting that, by December, monthly traffic may reach between 27% and 60% of the projected baseline for December 2020. The most likely baseline scenario suggests passenger traffic volumes to reach 56%, 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. “Aviation will be central to the global economic recovery, delivering connectivity, trade, tourism, jobs, prosperity and growth.

“As air transport has always been an industry based on the interdependence of all its parts, the COVID-19 crisis devastated all stakeholders—from aircraft manufacturers and travel agents to retailers in airports—and resulted in job losses, business shutdowns, bankruptcies, and other instances of economic devastation.

“Beyond the immediate and apparent damages, the global economy has been hit hard by the loss of the benefits arising from air transportation activity. Indeed, according to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), as of 2018, aviation supports 65.5 million jobs worldwide and enables $2.7 trillion in global GDP.

“The recovery of air travel is crucial in the wider global economic recovery but, to succeed, it will need passengers to have confidence in the industry’s focus on their health and welfare.”

ACI has provided support and assistance for airports including initiatives like the Check & Fly app and its global Airport Health Accreditation programme 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.

“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,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

Notes for editors

  1. Read ACI’s full economic impact analysis bulletin: The impact of COVID-19 on the airport business.
  2. The Check & Fly app is available on the Apple App Store. More information on the Health Measure Portal. Airports can already add their health information directly by completing the online form. For technical details and use of the application programming interface (API) to access the data, developers may find further information.
  3. More information about the ACI Airport Health Accreditation Programme.
  4. Stay up to date with ACI World’s COVID-19 communications through its dedicated news hub.
  5. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, customer-centric and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2020, ACI serves 668 members, operating 1979 airports in 176 countries.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
Manager, External Relations and Special Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254