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Domestic air travel is driving aviation recovery says ACI

Easing travel restrictions in key aviation markets is spurring optimism despite geopolitical tensions

A new report by Airports Council International (ACI) predicts that the aviation sector will see growth in H2 2022, with domestic travel leading the way.

While international air passenger volume is expected to show some improvements, it will amount to only slightly more than two billion passengers, corresponding to 54% of 2019’s volume.

The ACI report stated: ‘Over 2021, the crisis is forecast to have removed 5.4 billion passengers compared to the projected baseline (the pre-Covid-19 forecast for 2021), representing a loss of 55% of global passenger traffic. This represents less than half of what it was in 2019, with traffic for 2021 totalling only 4.4 billion (48.3%) of the 9.2 billion passengers served two years ago.’

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However, domestic traffic volume is faring better, and is projected to recover faster than international passenger traffic in 2022, reaching a total of 4.46 billion passengers, 84% of the volume recorded before the pandemic in 2019.

The pandemic has also severely impacted airport revenues. Globally, it’s estimated that airports lost more than US$83.1 billion in revenues in 2021

Prior to the outbreak, the airport industry was expected to generate more than US$175.8 billion in revenues in 2022, but revenues are now forecast to only reach 72.6% of 2019 levels.

Overall, despite slower than expected recovery, political unrest and persisting financial challenges for airline CEOs, the easing of travel restrictions in key travel markets is helping to spur momentum in aviation’s recovery.

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“Our thoughts are with the people and our colleagues in aviation impacted by the situation in Ukraine,” said ACI World director-general Luis Felipe de Oliveira. “As we have seen during the Covid-19 crisis, agility and adaptation is in aviation’s DNA. Airports are trained to handle crises and the priority remains to keep people safe.

“On the global front, it has been two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic. We have now reached a potential turning point. The unprecedented global vaccination effort and latest recommendation from the WHO that governments ease travel restrictions could jumpstart the global economic recovery and that of air transport demand.”

At this week’s Arab Aviation Summit 2022, chairperson and Group CEO of UAE-based budget carrier Air Arabia, Adel Al Ali, echoed a sentiment of optimism

Al Ali noted that, since the pandemic breakout, consumers around the world have not had the opportunity to spend as much as usual. Al Ali said: “Nobody has done much shopping, much travelling or much eating in restaurants because they have been closed for the last two years. That is an opportunity that [airlines] should grab and benefit from.

“Equally, I think the online shopping will only require more aeroplanes to fly [cargo]. So, in conclusion, I think global aviation is coming back in a much stronger position, despite all the analysis and reports that it will take a long time to get back.”

For more information, visit www.aci.aero

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