Latest air travel outlook reveals short and long-term demand

Posted: 23 February 2023 | | No comments yet

Airports Council International World has published its latest quarterly airport traffic outlook which shows an upsurge in demand across many markets.

Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its latest quarterly airport traffic outlook showing an upsurge in air travel demand across many markets amidst heightened macroeconomic risks. The quarterly update is released in tandem with the annual ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts, revealing expected air traffic to 2041. 

Airport traffic recovery: 2022 and short-term outlook

The highlights from the 12th Advisory Bulletin on the impact of COVID-19 on the airport business—and the path to recovery are:

  • With the removal of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers in 2022, there has been an upsurge in demand across many markets
  • Global passenger traffic finished the year at 72% of 2019 levels, or a total of 6.5 billion passengers
  • Market segments vary markedly – international passenger numbers were at 60% of 2019 levels whereas domestic were at 79% in 2022
  • The recovery in passenger volumes in 2022 remained uneven across the globe with Latin American-Caribbean markets reaching 91% of 2019 levels whereas the Asia-Pacific region lagged at 52%
  • Global passenger traffic is forecast to reach 92% (or 8.4 billion passengers) of 2019 levels in 2023
  • The baseline projections for global passenger traffic indicate that the industry will recover to 2019 levels by 2024, driven mainly by domestic travel.

“The surge in air travel following the lifting of restrictions in 2022 continues into 2023,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General, said. “We know from our Global Traveller Survey covering 4,125 respondents across 30 countries, that 86% of respondents plan to travel by air in 2023—this is the highest intention to travel score since the beginning of the pandemic.

“However, we are cognisant that the speed of the recovery depends on several factors. On the one hand, the possible slowing in GDP growth in major economies coupled with the rise in airfares due to higher jet fuel prices weigh negatively on demand. On the other hand, a strong labour market and the re-opening of China, the second largest aviation market after the United States, represents an important boost to global passenger traffic.”

ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2022–2041  

The ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2022–2041 reveals:

  • Passenger traffic worldwide is expected to reach 19.3 billion in 2041
  • In 2041, airports are predicted to handle almost 200 million tonnes of air cargo worldwide. The United States and China will remain the two largest markets, together accounting for 40% of global cargo
  • Airports worldwide will see 153.8 million aircraft movements by 2041. The United States, China, and India are predicted to be the leading markets for aircraft movements in 2041, respectively, hosting 23%, 16%, and 4% of global aircraft movements.

ACI World’s flagship dataset presents 20-year traffic forecast figures, providing airport planners and investors with reliable data to help them make informed business decisions and develop data-driven strategies. In addition to forecasts, which pulls from data from over 110 countries across the globe, the dataset features key findings, predicted market rankings, and insightful charts.

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