New data released by the trade association of the world’s airports, Airports Council International (ACI ), has revealed that passenger traffic worldwide fell by -94.4% year-on-year this April as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decline followed an already dramatic drop of -55.9% the previous month.

During the first four months of this year, global passenger traffic witnessed an overall drop of -41.8% with the 12-month rolling average for the global industry continuing to decline.

Global air freight volumes in April fell by -22.6% compared to the same month last year, resulting in a -10.8% drop for the first four months.

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “April was devastating for the aviation industry as global air travel almost came to a complete halt as national governments made unilateral decisions to implement strict confinement measures in the second week to contain the Covid-19 outbreak heavily affecting the movement of passengers.

“Coordinated actions must be planned in supporting the industry restart to avoid the lack of coordination we faced as the restrictions were first applied on travel around the world.”

Amid these losses, airports in some regions are currently planning to resume operations and are also making plans for a sustained, long-term recovery.

ACI World said that financial assistance and relief is needed to safeguard essential operations and protect jobs generated by the airport industry.

Oliveira further added: “Airports, like other industry sectors, need urgent relief and assistance to help them as they begin to restart operations, to navigate the far-reaching economic ramifications of the crisis, and help lay the foundation of a balanced recovery.

“Airports continue to face high fixed costs, rising costs related to health measures at airports, and the challenge of creeping increases in the cost of capital.”

All major regional markets posted declines above -95% of their global passenger traffic, except for Asia-Pacific. North America was hit hard with a loss of -95% of its traffic volume.

Air freight volumes across the globe were reduced by almost a quarter during the month, with a drop of -22.6% compared to April last year.