Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its World Airport Traffic Report Dataset, which includes passenger traffic, cargo volumes, and aircraft movements for last year.

The dataset showcases a ‘healthy aviation industry’ in 2019.

In total, the studied airports around the world served 9.1 billion passengers, 120 million metric tonnes of cargo, and over 102 million aircraft movements.

The WATR dataset covered 2,565 airports from 180 countries.

Global passenger traffic increased 3.5% last year, with 9.1 billion passengers.

International passenger traffic recorded an increase of 4.1% while domestic traffic grew by 2.4%.

The increase in 2019 is the lowest year-over-year growth since 2009.

The dataset showcased that the centre of gravity in the aviation sector was shifting towards the east in 2019.

In addition, the airports handled around 120 million tonnes of air cargo last year.

However, the year is said to be the worst since the Great Recession for the market, which registered a year-over-year loss of -2.2%. Supply chains were affected by trade tensions, import tariffs and other trade restrictions.

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “The aviation industry directly generates 11 million jobs and around 60% of this workforce is at airports which provides the employment, social benefits and economic development for the communities we serve.

“In 2019, global air service growth remained consistent and resilient but the continuing impact of protectionism and trade wars on international air transport services was looming as the main challenge to growth in the short term. No one could have predicted that a global pandemic would bring the aviation industry to a standstill.

“Airports in some regions are making tentative steps towards recovery, in cooperation with airlines and their partners in the aviation ecosystem, but a recovery to the levels of success seen in of 2019 will be a long and difficult journey.

“Aviation is a key driver of local, regional and national economies, and direct government financial relief and assistance is urgently needed to protect operations, safeguard jobs, and support the industry’s recovery.”