New Airports Council International (ACI) World has estimated nearly $2.4tn in capital investments for the global airport sector to support the long-term trend in passenger demand to 2040.

‘The Global Outlook of Airport Capital Expenditure – Meeting Sustainable Development Goals and Future Air Travel Demand’ report has been developed in partnership with Oxford Economics and supported by Hamad International Airport (DOH).

The study called for a significant investment in new greenfield airports and the expansion and maintenance of existing airports.

It also warns of a reduction of up to 5.1 billion passengers globally by 2040, if the long-term capacity constraints are not addressed with capital investments.

For every million passengers airports fail to handle owing to capacity issues in 2040, there would be 10,500 fewer jobs and $346m less in GDP, the study said.

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “Airport infrastructure is key to the continued development of air transport which supports millions of jobs and provides social and economic development for the global communities we serve.

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“Beyond the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, our focus is to provide sustainable long term growth for the industry, which will need increased airport capital investment in new and optimised existing infrastructure, reasonable policies for the use of slots and developments improving the economic, social and environmental footprint of airports.”

The report gave a regional breakdown of the expenditure, which showed Asia-Pacific requiring about $1.3tn and the Middle East needing nearly $151bn.

In Europe, a $427bn requirement represents 18% of the 2021–2040 global total. North America would require a $400bn investment, which is about 17% of the global total.

To meet the Latin America-Caribbean needs, an investment of about $94bn is required, of which nearly $41bn will be needed in new greenfield development. Africa would need more than $32bn to meet its demands, according to the study.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira added: “Governments will play an important role in supporting and incentivising recovery and to mitigate the risks of falling short on Sustainable Development Goals linked to airports.

“This support could take the form of the development and access to renewal energy sources, reducing electricity purchase through energy efficiency measures, improving access to green financing instruments, adapting airport infrastructure to serve alternative fuel aircraft, or fostering the development of negative emission technologies.”