Predicted global impact of COVID-19 on airports worsens

The forecasts of prolonged impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in worsening predictions for traffic and revenue losses for airports across all regions.

COVID-19 impacts on aviation worsen

Airports Council International (ACI) World has released updated modelling that shows the escalating economic impact of COVID-19 on the global airport industry.

ACI World now estimates a reduction of more than two billion passengers globally in the second quarter of 2020 and more than 4.6 billion passengers for all of 2020. The estimated decline in total airport revenues is estimated to reach $39.2 billion in the second quarter and more than $97 billion for 2020.

This outlook illustrates the stark need for government assistance for airports to preserve essential operations and to protect the jobs and livelihoods of millions.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on airports, the wider aviation ecosystem and the global economy continues to worsen and represents an existential threat to the industry unless governments can provide appropriate relief and assistance,” ACI World Director General, Angela Gittens, said. “As traffic and revenue have collapsed, the airport industry has taken all possible measures to preserve stability, but the challenge remains that a significant portion of airport costs are fixed.

“Airports are critical in the air transport ecosystem which is a key driver of local, regional and national economies and the communities they serve, and this global economic multiplier effect needs to be safeguarded to help underpin recovery.

“Jobs need to be protected and airports given financial support so people can rapidly return to work while operations can be scaled up to meet demand as the industry restarts.”

ACI World has called for comprehensive financial relief, the protection of airport charges and revenues, urgent tax relief, waivers to airport rents and concession fees, and the continuation of charges on air cargo operations. Grants and subsidies, secured financing, loans at preferential rates and bank guarantees should be made available.

“Financial relief and assistance is urgently needed but it is crucial for the prospects of a balanced recovery that any assistance benefits the entire aviation ecosystem and does not target once sector over other,” Gittens said. 

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