Business

The impact of the pandemic on the world’s busiest airports

Receive the news on your mobile, click to access the AEROIN channel via Telegram and our profile on Instagram.

The International Airport Council (ACI World) released its World Airport Traffic Report (WATR) this October with data showing the dramatic and catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on airport traffic in the first half of 2020. See a comparison between performance below before the crisis and the current market situation.

Atlanta Airport – Image: Formulanon / CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A prosperous year 2019

According to the report, passenger traffic at the 20 busiest airports in the world had increased 1.7% in 2019. With more than 1.5 billion passengers passing through their terminals, this group of 20 terminals accounted for 17% of global passenger traffic.

The number of passengers from all airports in the world was estimated to be more than 9.1 billion in 2019, an increase of 3.5% compared to 2018. This shows a healthy aviation industry before the disastrous effects of current pandemic.

Airport traffic in emerging and developing countries grew somewhat faster (+ 3.9%) in 2019 than in advanced economies (+ 3.1%). Africa (+ 6.0%) and Latin America-Caribbean (+ 4.4%) recorded the strongest growth in passenger traffic of all regions.

However, the past year marked the end of a decade of steady growth in global passenger traffic before the Covid-19 crisis nearly or completely brought airports around the world to a standstill, causing losses in airport traffic sales in all regions.

The effects in 2020

In the first half of 2020, the global number of passengers at airports fell by -58.4% compared to the same period of the previous year, with international traffic being hardest hit with a decrease of -64.5%.

In addition to the decrease in the number of people carried, the total movement of aircraft decreased by -41.6%, while the total volume of cargo via airports decreased by -12.4% in the same period of the first six months of this year.

As a result of the profound impact, the 10 busiest airports in 2019 were affected in the first half of this 2020:

Ranking of the busiest airports in 2019 and impact of the pandemic

1. Atlanta (ATL) – 110.5 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 56.6% in the first half of 2020

2. Beijing (PEK) – 100 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 73.6% in the first half of 2020

3. Los Angeles (LAX) – 88.1 million passengers in 2019; Traffic fell by 58.9% in the first half of 2020

4. Dubai (DXB) – 86.4 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 56.4% in the first half of 2020

5. Tokyo (HND) – 85.5 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 59.2% in the first half of 2020

6. Chicago (ORD) – 84.6 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 57.6% in the first half of 2020

7. London (LHR) – 80.9 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 60.2% in the first half of 2020

8. Shanghai (PVG) – 76.2 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 68.1% in the first half of 2020

9. Paris (CDG) – 76.2 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 61.4% in the first half of 2020

10. Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) – 75.1 million passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 48.2% in the first half of 2020

Total number of TOP 10 airports – 863.420 billion passengers in 2019; Traffic decreased by 60.2% in the first half of 2020

While Atlanta and Beijing ranked first two as the world’s busiest airports, and Los Angeles rose one place to third in 2019, data for the first half of 2020 shows these airports posted a -56.6% decrease, -73.6% and -58.9%, respectively. It was the sharpest decline in the history of the sector.

“After a period of sustained global growth in 2019, the aviation industry is now facing the worst crisis we have ever faced. Passenger traffic and revenues have fallen sharply due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the general manager of the ICA, Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

Priorities for recovery

Oliveira emphasizes that aviation – and airports as the main focus of the industry – will be the main drivers for the global economic recovery from Covid-19. Governments must provide support and coordination to save jobs, protect critical operations and take policies to facilitate the return of air links.

“We’re optimistic about the future, but we need consistency and collaboration around the world on important issues like testing. The industry agrees that general pre-travel testing of passengers as an alternative to quarantine restrictions is a crucial way to promote public confidence in air travel and should be introduced, ”warned the director, in line with statements from IATA (International Air Transport Association) on the same topic.

Oliveira adds that given the long and difficult road to return to 2019 levels of success, there is a need to work alongside the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and international organizations industry-wide to develop a global testing approach that helps ensure consistency and establish workable procedures.

ACI’s WATR report includes data from 2,565 airports in more than 180 countries worldwide. According to the council, this year’s publication contains the most comprehensive data ever collected.

ACI information

Receive the news on your mobile, click to access the AEROIN channel via Telegram and our profile on Instagram.

Back to top button