Restrictions amid Covid variants ‘have dented’ aviation’s recovery, says ACI

By Luke Barras-hill |

Airports Council International (ACI) World has warned that markets with a significant share of international passenger traffic will recover more slowly than their domestic market counterparts.

New forecasts from the voice of global airports showed that the industry suffered a loss of more than six billion passengers in 2020 (-64.2%), with a reduction in revenue of $111.8 billion.

Over the next five years, worldwide passenger traffic is expected to rise by 2.4% annually as the Covid-19 pandemic slows progress

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General, ACI World.


“The prospects for recovery in the aviation industry have taken a hit following the introduction of renewed travel restrictions and lockdowns in response to new variants of the Covid-19 virus emerging,” said ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

“While ACI forecasts show there is a pathway for a long term recovery, this can only be possible if a solid foundation can be laid in the short term with government policy support and direct assistance.

“The rapid deployment of vaccines is welcomed but there will be a considerable period before they are widely available so, in the meantime, there must be a proportionate approach to vaccination before travel balanced with a risk-based approach to testing.

“A coordinated approach to testing and vaccination will ensure the health and safety of passengers, staff and the general public, promote travel, and allow us to do away with restrictive quarantine measures that are hampering the industry efforts to prepare for a sustained recovery.”

China is tipped to become the largest pax market in 2031, surpassing the US, and is set to continue its dominance in 2040 with a little over 3.6 billion passengers, accounting for an 18.3% share of the global passenger traffic market.

ACI adds that the recovery, stifled as it may be, will only occur if governments adopt a consistent approach to testing to promote travel and remove ‘restrictive quarantine measures’ through a ‘coordinated and risk-based approach’ twinning testing and vaccinations.

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