ACI publishes year-end Covid-19 impact analysis

The organisation says pre-departure testing is needed to eradicate the quarantine period to enable recovery

The Airports Council International (ACI) has published its fifth annual COVID-19 economic impact analysis, which highlighted the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the industry.

The ACI advisory bulletin revealed that the sector will record a reduction of more than six billion passengers by the end of 2020, far lower than the previous forecast that was constructed pre-COVID-19, meaning there will be a 64.2% decline in global passenger traffic.

With reductions above 70%, both Europe and the Middle East are predicted to be the regions that are most affected. Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific region has begun its recovery earlier in comparison, as the sector is forecast to round off the year with a 59.2% decline and are the only region recording a decrease not below 60%. This recovery was largely driven by domestic markets such as China.

Gatwick Airport
(Photo Gatwick Airport)

At the beginning of the year, the airport industry was expected to generate around $172bn. Due to the pandemic, revenues will fall by more than of $111bn to $60bn.

“A consistent approach to testing should be implemented now to promote travel and do away with restrictive quarantine measures with a coordinated and risk-based approach to combining testing and vaccination introduced going forward,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director. “Tests and vaccines together will play a key role on the industry recovery, providing passengers with a safe travel environment and foster confidence in air travel.”

By exploring the potential recovery trajectory, ACI says it has established that domestic traffic is hoped to revert back to 2019 levels by 2023. It is also anticipated that the recovery of international passenger traffic will be back to normal the following year.

ACI also predicted that global traffic could take up to two decades to return to projected traffic levels that were previously expected.