Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Airport traffic in Jan already shows COVID-19’s rapid impact in APAC

Global airport traffic for January already showed the rapid impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on aviation, especially in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, according to Airports Council International (ACI) World.

Global passenger traffic grew by just 1.9% in January 2020, down from 4.9% a month prior. The industry’s 12-month rolling average reached 2.9%, temporarily propped up by the middling growth observed in 2019.

The Asia-Pacific region was already affected by the COVID-19 crisis in January, declining by 1.8% due to a significant shift in domestic traffic (-3.6%).

The freight industry showed a decline by 4.4% for the month as compared to January 2019, and a decline of 2.5% for 2019. The market’s 12-month rolling average stood at -3% in January, with an unprecedented and difficult period ahead.

“These figures show that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on aviation was rapid, especially in the Asia-Pacific region,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said.

She added that the health crisis might hopefully fade before 2020 is over but it could also extend into the next year.

“The aviation industry is facing unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation calls for an exceptional policy response to ensure the continuity and sustainability of airport operations.

“Airport operators are prioritising the health of passengers and staff first and foremost and, while it is hoped that the global health crisis will recede well before the year ends, it is possible that the economic impact could persist into 2021.

“The financial cost to the global industry in 2020 is rapidly growing. This is a fast-moving and ever-changing crisis and governments must act decisively and quickly,” said Gittens.

In January, total international passenger traffic continued to increase moderately, reaching +2.7% against a 12-month rolling average of +3.8%.

Domestic traffic—particularly affected by the downturn in Asia-Pacific (-3.6%) and Europe (-1.5%) but supported by North America’s strong domestic market (+4.8%)—only gained 1.3% against 2019’s results. This was against a 12-month rolling average of +2.3%.

On freight volumes, both domestic and international segments performed similarly in January, declining by 4.4% and 4.5% respectively. This was in line with the international market’s -4.4% 12-month rolling average but represented a significant shift for the domestic market, which now stands at +0.1%.

The main driver of that shift was the downtrends both in Asia-Pacific (-9.3%) and North America (-2.4%), which represent the vast majority of global and domestic freight market. Total volumes in the two regions declined by 8.1% and 3.5% respectively in January, both below their 12-month rolling averages (-3% and -1.6%).

Photo by Jörgen Berglund on Unsplash

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