Top View – Airport World
ACI World CEO Luis Felipe de Oliveira discusses some of the immediate and long-term challenges airports face.
The arrival of summer in the Northern Hemisphere marked a new chapter in the pandemic as we continue to take positive incremental steps towards rebuilding global connectivity and returning aviation to growth path. that we collectively built before.
As vaccinations continue, travel restrictions are slowly being relaxed and more passengers are expected to continue traveling in the second half of the year. We are especially excited to hear that Canada will reopen the international border in September and we look forward to welcoming aviation leaders to Montreal for the ACI Global Customer Experience Summit, one of the events most important to return to the industry calendar in 2021.
Aviation is crucial to the global economy and the communities we serve, as the airline industry is responsible for around 9% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the catalytic effect that airlines, airports, the tourism sector and other products industry players.
But the pandemic is far from over. According to the latest advisory bulletin, the lasting negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out an additional five billion passengers by the end of this year compared to pre-COVID-19 predictions.
Domestic traffic will continue the recovery that began in 2020 to reach nearly 3.3 billion passengers at the end of 2021 (61.4% of 2019 levels). In addition, ACI World estimates that, globally, airports will experience a drop of more than 108 billion dollars (figures in US dollars) in revenue by the end of the year, down by more than half. expectations (-54.6%).
Despite a slower-than-expected first half of 2021, the sector’s recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels is expected by 2023 for domestic travel and by 2024 for international travel, before resuming growth trends at long term passengers. Projections indicate that nearly 19.7 billion passengers will pass through airports around the world by 2040, more than double the levels of air passengers in 2019.
Airport infrastructure is essential to the continued development of air transport that supports millions of jobs and ensures the social and economic development of the global communities we serve. In normal times, meeting growing passenger demand in the face of capacity constraints at global airports is already a significant challenge, but the pandemic has dramatically reduced airport revenues, adding even more challenges to meeting capacity needs at airports. long term.
ACI World’s recently published study, Global Outlook of Airport Capital Expenditure – Meeting Sustainable Development Goals and Future Air Travel Demand, shows that the current financial deficit in the airport industry poses notable challenges to modernizing infrastructure to improve durability and resilience, which will be necessary if future passenger demand is to be met.
Supported by Hamad International Airport and developed in collaboration with Oxford Economics, the study shows that investment in completely new new airports, as well as significant investment to develop and maintain existing airport infrastructure will be required.
If long-term capacity constraints are not addressed through capital investments, ACI World estimates a reduction of up to 5.1 billion passengers globally by 2040. For every million passengers who
airports are unable to accommodate due to capacity constraints in 2040, the result would be 10,500 fewer jobs and $ 346 million less in gross domestic product.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, our quest to get the industry back on its growth path and reconnect the world, must be done with sustainability and aim for net zero carbon emissions.
In June, we published our long-term carbon goal of committing the world’s airports to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this, additional green capital funding will be needed and to secure fully positive economic, social and environmental outcomes, innovative approaches, appropriate incentives and flexibility in organizing and securing funding – such as green bonds or public-private partnerships – are needed.
Governments will play an important role in supporting and encouraging the recovery and in mitigating the risks of not meeting the sustainable development goals related to airports.
The next five years will be crucial. As the industry recovers, our attention must focus on infrastructure and sustainability to address our positive view that the industry will double in size by 2040.
I believe ACI’s role is to be a key influencer and driver of change in our industry. We are stronger together and the global collaboration between us and other representatives of the aviation ecosystem – especially with ICAO, IATA and our other valued global partners – will be essential for the industry to support successful balanced recovery from COVID and beyond.