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Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific has announced that the continued spread of Covid-19 will set back the forecasted growth of the region’s airports.

ACI has asked regulators and governments to adopt different relief measures according to the local situation of the outbreak.

According to estimates by ACI World, the Asia-Pacific region is the most affected, with passenger traffic numbers decreasing by 24% in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous forecasts before the epidemic.

In particular, mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea have been hit the most, with significant decreases in traffic volumes.

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In the Middle East, traffic is expected to decrease by 4.2%, with airlines and passengers modifying their itineraries for the next few days.

Due to this decline in passenger traffic, the aeronautical revenues and non-aeronautical revenues of airports have been affected.

The ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2019–2040 has estimated the first quarter revenue of Asia-Pacific to be $12.4bn in the ‘business as usual’. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 impact is expected to lead to a $3bn revenue loss.

ACI Asia-Pacific director-general Stefano Baronci said: “Unlike airlines, who can choose to cancel flights or relocate their aircraft to other markets to reduce operating costs, airport operators manage immovable assets that cannot be closed down.

“They are faced with immediate cash flow pressures with limited ability to reduce fixed costs and few resources to fund capacity expansion efforts for longer-term future growth.

“For privately-held airports, the situation is even worse as they do not benefit from relief measure but are obliged to continue paying concession fees to governments.”

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requested aviation regulators around the world to suspend the rules overseeing airport slots for the year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

ACI Asia-Pacific also stated that the Asia-Pacific and Middle East airport revenues were under high pressure in January and February due to the epidemic, even considering last year’s moderate growth.