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Press Releases
26 April 2021

ACI World Director General: ‘Aviation industry interdependence key to recovery’

‘Aviation is very important to the social and economic welfare of millions of people’

Cancun, 26 April 2021 – Airports Council International (ACI) World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira today spoke at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit about how the industry can work together to safeguard and rebuild the millions of aviation jobs threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participating in the panel Recovering 100 Million Jobs in Cancun, Mexico, Luis Felipe de Oliveira said air transport remains a vital part of the economy which, in pre-COVID-19 times, supports 88 million jobs and contributes $3.5 trillion to global Gross Domestic Product.

The panel was moderated by Aradhana Khowala, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Aptamind Partners, and Luis Felipe de Oliveira was joined by:

  • Craig Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International
  • Luís Araújo, President, Portugal Tourism Board and European Travel Commission
  • Isabel Hill, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director, National Travel and Tourism Office; US Department of Commerce, and
  • Gilson Machado Neto, Minister of Tourism of Brazil.

“To ensure that aviation can continue to provide the economic and social benefits, it is crucial that we work together across the industry and hand in hand with ICAO and international health organisations to ensure a coordinated recovery while providing crucial reassurance to travellers and staff,” he said. “Around 60% of aviation jobs are at airports and local economies have been heavily affected by the reduction of activity and job losses due to the impact and effects of the pandemic.

“Governments have a key role to play to support airport jobs and incomes as the aviation industry is very important to the social and economic welfare of millions of people across the planet.

“Governments should provide targeted and direct financial support which should benefit the entire aviation ecosystem—airports, airlines, and their commercial partners—to ensure that the multiplier effect is felt across economies.”

Luis Felipe de Oliveira also discussed the prospects for a sustained, long term recovery.

“To bring jobs back, we need a sustainable recovery of traffic and revenues and vaccines, coupled with testing and the current health measures in place, present our best way out of this pandemic,” he said.

“Gains continue to be made across the world in vaccination campaigns and domestic markets in the United States and China continue to show positive signs, bringing renewed optimism for a more comprehensive return of air travel this year.

“Recovery, however, will happen in phases and will likely be uneven across the world. Markets with significant domestic traffic are not expected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 and markets with a significant share of international traffic will recover much more slowly in 2024 and 2025.

“Air transport has always been an industry based on the interdependence of all its parts. Tourism and air transport have a strong reciprocal and symbiotic relationship – we are going to need collaborative action on a scale not seen before.

“The recovery of air travel and tourism 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 so globally harmonised measures are crucial for a safe, secure, and sustainable restart and recovery of the aviation sector.

“Digital health passes will play a very important role in the restart of global travel.

We need to establish an interoperable health data trust framework for safe border reopening and cross-border travel.”

Notes for editors

  1. More information on the WTTC Global Summit.
  2. Stay up to date with COVID-19 developments on ACI World’s dedicated news hub.
  3. 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 2021, ACI serves 701 members, operating 1933 airports in 183 countries.

Media contacts

Anita Berthier
Director, Communication
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254