Dramatic passenger declines shown by ACI World airport traffic report
For the first half of 2020, worldwide airport passenger numbers decreased by 58.4 per cent when compared to the same period in 2019, with international passenger traffic hit the hardest, recording a 64.5 per cent drop.
Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its World Airport Traffic Report (WATR), along with data showing the dramatic and catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger traffic.
According to the report, passenger numbers are estimated to have surpassed 9.1 billion in 2019, an increase of 3.5 per cent compared to 2018, illustrating a healthy aviation industry before the catastrophic impact of the current pandemic.
2019 marked the end of a decade of consistent growth in global passenger traffic before the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has brought airports around the world to a virtual standstill, resulting in airport traffic and revenue losses across all regions.
For the first half of 2020, worldwide airport passenger numbers decreased by 58.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, with international passenger traffic hit the hardest, recording a 64.5 per cent drop. Overall aircraft movements declined by 41.6 per cent, while total cargo volumes handled by airports decreased by 12.4 per cent for the same period.
While Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) held the top two places as the world’s busiest airports, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) crept up one spot to take third in 2019, initial half year 2020 data shows that these airports have suffered declines of 56.6 per cent, 73.6 per cent and 58.9 per cent, respectively, representing the sharpest decline in the industry’s history.
ACI World‘s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “From a period of sustained global growth in 2019, the aviation industry now faces the worst crisis we have ever confronted, with huge declines in passenger traffic and revenues due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aviation – and airports as a key focal point of the industry – will be a key driver of the global economic recovery from COVID-19, and governments need to provide assistance and coordination to help safeguard jobs, protect essential operations and provide sensible policies to facilitate the return of air connectivity.”
“We are positive about the future, but we need consistency and collaboration across the globe on key issues like testing. The industry is united in the view that widespread testing of passengers before travel, as an alternative to quarantine restrictions, will be a crucial way to foster public confidence in air travel and must be introduced,” he added.
ACI’s WATR includes data from 2,565 airports in more than 180 countries worldwide.