Airports Council International (ACI) World has released its annual report that outlines the key contributions of the airport industry in the global economy.

ACI World released the Airport Economics Report and Key Performance Indicators, which include important financial data regarding airport business developments in 2018.

It shows that the airport industry was a healthy and globally profitable sector before the Covid-19 pandemic and that the balanced and fair recovery of the industry is important for the global economy.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “Airports are facing difficult prospects right now because a significant proportion of airports’ costs, capital costs in particular, are fixed, leaving less of a cushion during a downturn, especially one of this unprecedented magnitude.

“As a significant portion of airport revenues goes to fund the much-needed capacity development once business as usual operations resume, any decrease in revenue may have a dramatic impact on airport development, and in turn on the airline business.

“This is because aviation is an interdependent and interconnected ecosystem, and, in order to stay afloat, it will require a coordinated and strategic response to overcome the unexpected difficulties and get back on track as soon as possible.”

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The Economic Report by ACI stated that in 2018, global industry revenue increased by 4.3% and was $178.2bn, but that passenger revenue decreased by 1.7%.

Aeronautical revenue contributed the largest to the global revenue with 55.9% while the contribution of non-aeronautical revenue and non-operating revenue were 39.2% and 4.9% respectively.

Airport revenues in 2018 did not increase as much as the traffic, while the aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues decreased 2.3% and 2.2% respectively, which is on a per passenger basis.

Last week, ACI World stated that it expects the airport sector’s revenue to fall by $77bn this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airport charges and capacity constraints require flexible solutions away from the strict pricing regulation, given that the long-term forecasts for global air service demand shows potential for growth.