Airports Council International (ACI) World has announced that, in March 2020, worldwide passenger traffic decreased by 55.9% compared to the same month the year before.

In February this year, passenger numbers increased by 10.7%.

The decrease in passenger numbers is attributed to the effects of Covid-19.

Global passenger traffic in the first quarter of the year saw a decrease of 22.7%. The rolling average of the 12-month passenger numbers decreased by 3.1% by the end of March.

For the freight industry, traffic saw a decrease of 6.9% while the global 12-month rolling average decreased by 3.8% as of the end of March.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “The second week of March was a turning point for the reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic as national governments implemented strict confinement measures, which brought the industry to a virtual halt.

“While the crisis’ impact on passenger traffic was mostly in the Asia-Pacific in February, March figures showed its spread across the world, affecting both domestic and international markets.

“Global freight volumes have not been affected to the same extent as passenger traffic. The need to move time-sensitive shipments and vital supplies, including urgent medical supplies, and goods to support the global economy, helped the freight industry avoid the level of declines in demand experienced by the passenger traffic segment.”

The global international market saw a decrease of 62.4% in passenger numbers while the domestic markets recorded a 50.6% decrease.

Asia-Pacific was the most affected market, with a decrease of 77.6% while the Middle Ease saw a decline of 58.6%. North America and Europe saw decreases of 50.4% and 60.1% respectively.

Last month, ACI World issued new guidance to assist airports in the resumption of operations and the recovery of business amidst the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.