Airports Council International (ACI) World has announced that, in February, worldwide passenger traffic decreased by 10.7% compared to the same month the year before.

In January this year, passenger numbers increased by 1.9%.

The decrease in passenger numbers is attributed to the affect of Covid-19 in the Asia-Pacific region.

The rolling average of the 12-month passenger numbers increased by 1.8% by the end of February. However, the numbers are expected to decrease drastically in the coming months.

The impact of Covid-19 on February traffic was contributed by the Asia-Pacific region, however, the March numbers, which will be published next month, will reflect the wide spread of the virus.

For the freight industry, traffic saw a decrease of 0.5%, while the global 12-month rolling average decreased by 2.7% as of the end of February.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “The coming year will pose major challenges for the industry, as travel restrictions and lockdown measures continue to impact the industry. Since we can expect that a global recession will take hold, it is now likely that the impacts of Covid-19 may be felt well into 2021.

“In February, only data from Asia-Pacific, where the epidemic originally occurred, was showing a major effect on global traffic. We know we will see declines in other regions once March data becomes available, as this is when most of the travel restrictions and national lockdowns started.

“Though global freight volumes should not be affected to the same extent as passenger traffic in the coming months, the freight industry should still face major challenges.”

ACI World predicts that the impact of Covid-19 will affect the demand and the supply chains along with decrease in the capacity of airlines.

Last month, ACI World released its annual report that outlines the key contributions of the airport industry to the global economy.