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Airports Council International (ACI) World has released its Advisory Bulletin predicting Covid-19’s economic impact on the airport sector.

ACI has estimated that global airport passenger traffic volume will decrease by at least 12% for the first quarter, compared to the previous estimates.

It added that the Asia-Pacific region will be the most affected, with a 24% decrease compared to previous estimates for the first quarter.

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By GlobalData

In addition, the European and Middle Eastern markets will see a significant decrease in passenger traffic.

Following the reduction in services across North America, the region will also experience a decrease in passenger traffic in the second quarter of this year.

The effect of Covid-19 on passenger numbers and flight cancellations is expected to reduce the revenue generated from airport charges. However, the airport charges cost base stays the same due to the many fixed prices.

In the first quarter of this year, airport revenues from around the world were estimated to generate approximately $39.5bn. Following the outbreak, the global revenue is expected to have a loss of around $4.3bn.

ACI World has also asked for the implementation of a proportionate slot allocation in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requested aviation regulators around the world to suspend the rules overseeing airport slots for the year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “The sudden shock represented by the Covid-19 outbreak is affecting passenger and cargo traffic worldwide, markedly in Asia-Pacific and significantly reducing airport revenues.

“Airports rely heavily on airport charges to fund their operating and capital costs and operators find themselves under intense pressure during periods of traffic decline.  Airport revenues must be sufficiently protected to ensure safe and sustainable operations. Measures to limit the collection of airport charges would be ill-advised.”

ACI Asia-Pacific also announced that the continued spread of Covid-19 will set back the forecasted growth of the region’s airports.