Airports in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East are expected to lose $36.4 billion for the full year 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Airport Council International (ACI) World said on Tuesday.
For both Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, this means 10 per cent more losses than forecast one month ago.
According to ACI World’s updated economic impact assessment, Asia-Pacific airports will see year-end revenue loss of 59 per cent Middle East airports can expect revenue loss of 53 per cent.
This outcome is the result of a significant drop in passenger traffic with the two regions jointly standing to lose 2 billion passengers, about 400 million more passengers than previously forecast.
“We are observing moderate signs of recovery in China’s domestic traffic, which is encouraging. But we are entering the most critical stage of the year for our industry. We expect the second quarter of the year to be substantially more challenging than the first quarter, especially in countries with predominantly international traffic profiles. Rebuilding people’s confidence to travel again will take time,” said Stefano Baronci, director general, ACI Asia-Pacific.
Preliminary traffic data for April from 26 airports from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East confirms the current challenges and negative trends faced by the region’s airports. On aggregate, the traffic at these airports remain rock bottom, recording a year-on-year traffic decline of 92 per cent in the four weeks of April.
ACI Asia-Pacific has welcomed efforts by governments in the region who have provided relief packages to the aviation industry as a whole and airports in particular. However, in light of the updated financial forecasts, the airport association is calling on governments to introduce additional relief packages including:
• Taxation relief, including alleviation of payroll taxes, corporate taxes, concession fees waivers or other government incomes from the industry
• Loans, loan guarantees or direct support to maintain financial liquidity across the aviation ecosystem.
“With concrete data in hand for the rest of the year, it is evident that airports will struggle to survive. Governments in Asia Pacific and the Middle East need to do more. ACI Asia-Pacific encourages governments in both regions to look at other competitive markets, such as the US which has pledged $10 billion in rescue funds to airports or Brazil which has allowed for the deferment of airport concession fee payments by airport operators until the end of the year,” Baronci said. – TradeArabia News Service