ACI Asia-Pacific states airports are under pressure due to Covid-19

28 February 2020 (Last Updated February 28th, 2020 11:07)

Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific has stated that the Asia-Pacific and Middle East airport revenues are under high pressure in January and February, even with moderate growth last year, due to the recent Covid-19 epidemic.

ACI Asia-Pacific states airports are under pressure due to Covid-19
ACI Asia-Pacific stated that the airport revenues in the region are under high pressure in the last two months due to the recent Covid-19 epidemic. Credit: Simon_sees

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Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific has stated that the Asia-Pacific and Middle East airport revenues are under high pressure in January and February, even with moderate growth last year, due to the recent Covid-19 epidemic.

The traffic report from last month shows a divergent performance in major airports in the region with some sites showing increasing growth until the Lunar New Year, which was on 24 January.

However, a decrease is expected following the coronavirus outbreak, which gained momentum late last month.

ACI Asia-Pacific expects a significant drop in passenger traffic amid travel bans imposed by many countries, as well as flight cancellations by airlines to stop the spread of the virus.

The region’s scheduled capacity has decreased substantially with a reduction of up to 15% expected this month.

During the Lunar New Year travel period, the civil aviation sector in China served 38.4 million passengers in the 40-day period, which marks a 47.5% decrease compared with the same period last year.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has estimated that more than 130 airline companies have reduced or cancelled flight operations to and from mainland China since the start of the outbreak in January.

The flight cancellations have led to a decrease in around 17.2 to 20.6 million passengers in the first quarter compared with previous estimates.

ACI Asia-Pacific director-general Stefano Baronci said: “The impact of the travel bans and restrictions in response to the outbreak is having a drastic impact on scheduled capacity. It is concerning that China, which contributed close to 60% of the 2019 traffic increase, will no longer be able to fuel growth in this first part of 2020.

“Airport revenue generation and growth are directly linked to traffic levels. We can, therefore, expect declines of significant proportion for airports in affected markets in the first quarter. However, the ripple effect will be felt across many airports beyond our region.”

Most of the airports in the Asia-Pacific region rely on revenues from non-aeronautical or commercial sources such as rental income, car parking and duty-free.