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Industry Agenda
2021 - 2020

aviation news, industry agenda

Gradual reopening of borders to vaccinated travellers brings renewed optimism

Montreal, 1 November 2021 – New Airports Council International (ACI) World data shows that the lasting adverse impact of the COVID-19 crisis is forecast to remove an additional 5.2 billion passengers by the end of this year compared to the pre-COVID-19 forecast for 2021.

Despite recent positive news of certain markets re-opening their borders, global passenger traffic in 2021 is still expected to reach only half of what it was in 2019, with total traffic for 2021 forecast to be only 4.6 billion of the 9.2 billion passengers served two years ago. Domestic passenger traffic continues to recover faster than the international market expecting to reach more than 3.1 billion passengers by the end of the year, a level corresponding to 58.5% of that achieved in 2019.

While the new data worsens the expected annual financial performance of the world's airports, especially for the fourth quarter of the year, ACI still expects each quarter of 2021 to show an improvement compared to the previous one. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 forecast for 2021, the quarterly revenue shortfall is projected to improve from a 69.9% decline in the first quarter to a 47.4% decrease in the fourth quarter.

"The speed of the recovery continues to depend substantially on several stakeholders and the level of coordination pursued by national governments worldwide," ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. "While the global travel market is still mostly depressed, more and more countries are moving towards the gradual reopening of their borders to vaccinated travellers. Despite a delayed recovery as compared to earlier forecasts, this trend brings a renewed optimism that air travel could see an uptick in 2022, moving the industry closer to recovery. We hope that the imminent easing of travel restrictions in the US will pave the way for other countries to safely reopen their borders.

"ACI World continues to advocate the importance of a pragmatic and risk-based approach to managing the sustainable recovery of the aviation industry as it prepares for a return of air traffic demand. Government action to promote safe travel—including a coordinated and risk-based approach to testing and vaccination—is critical, rather than governments enforcing full-scale restrictions and blanket measures."

New projections likewise reveal that the COVID-19 crisis is expected to remove more than 3.6 billion passengers for 2022, representing a 28.3% decrease from 2019 levels. Similarly, the impact of the pandemic is expected to reduce airport revenues next year by an additional US$78.6 billion, or by 29.3%, compared to 2019. However, it is expected that like 2021, each quarter of 2022 will see an improvement over the previous one.

| ACI World

2021 | Ongoing impact of COVID-19 weakens aviation recovery momentum

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the relaxation of COVID-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers, and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France this week. This is tempered by ongoing disappointment at the failure to implement harmonized measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.

  • As of 7 June, Spain opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Furthermore, passengers coming from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without any restrictions.
  • From 9 June France opened to vaccinated travelers from all but those countries assessed as "high risk". Vaccinated travelers from "medium-risk" countries will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days

"It's encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders. They recognize the opportunity created by vaccination and are making travel more affordable with the use of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax borders at all. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.

A consistent approach across Europe is required if the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to be implemented effectively by 1 July. And around the world, governments need to allow digital certificates to be integrated in passenger applications such as IATA Travel Pass, in order to relieve pressure on airports and at borders from more complex passenger processing as the number of travelers ramps up.

IATA Urges a More Global Approach

These moves by Spain, France and other European states are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives. The G20 endorsed a data-driven approach to managing the risks of COVID-19 while re-opening borders. The upcoming G7 Leaders' Summit on 11-13 June provides an important opportunity for these governments to use their leadership to kick-start a data-driven coordinated approach to re-establishing global air connectivity.

"Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world's largest air travel markets, such Australia, China, the UK, Japan, and Canada remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening. Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards a normality in world with COVID-19 for some time to come. The G7 has an opportunity later this month to set a risk-managed framework for re-establishing the freedom to travel in a way that is both affordable and practical. It's critical that they take up the challenge," said Walsh.

2021 | Hopes Rise for Vaccinated Travelers in EU, but Global Restart Still Stalled

1. Contactless technology

The trend for a contactless passenger experience in airports has been underway for a number of years already, but the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the adoption of contactless technology, in order to minimise the spread of viruses and reduce the interaction between passengers and staff. In the coming year, we expect to see an even wider utilisation of the technology throughout the entire journey ­- from check-in and security processes, to the way passengers pay for ancillary services at the airport terminal, and the way they board the plane and interact with inflight entertainment systems on board.

Last year, we saw a number of airlines and airports swiftly adopt contactless solutions. One example is Etihad, which back in April became the first airline to trial new contactless self-service technologies. Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) and AirAsia also followed suit and in May both companies introduced an end-to-end contactless airport experience. A number of other airports and airlines around the world have since adopted touchless check-in including Avalon Airport, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Avinor.

In times when passengers have become more wary of touching surfaces, some airlines have also been pushing ahead with updates to their inflight entertainment (IFE) to offer a contactless experience and encourage a BYOD (bring your own device) model. Southwest Airlines, for instance, launched a series of improvements across its Inflight Entertainment Portal, which allows customers to stream inflight content without having to download an app before they board.

2. Virtual events

Traditional in-person trade shows will not return with any great conviction until towards the back half of 2021 at the earliest, and will be highly regionalised rather than global affairs.

The free-to-attend event will be the most comprehensive global industry gathering of the year, which will champion bold new ideas, solutions, collaboration an innovation efforts to ensure we achieve an industry recovery that makes air transport even stronger in the long-term.

3. Digital health passports & vaccination visas

One emerging technology that has been widely discussed in the past few months in response to the pandemic is digital health passports. The concept of health or immunity passports is not new, and has, indeed, been around for some time. An example of this is the traditional paper-based processes already recognised as the International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as Yellow Fever card. The focus is now on digitising this and using it as a ;tool to verify people's health status.

Multiple initiatives to develop and deploy digital health passports are currently underway around the world. The CommonPass project, which was introduced in October last year following a partnership between the Commons Project, the World Economic Forum and a broad coalition of public and private partners, aims to establish standard ways to verify lab results and vaccination records. To use CommonPass, travellers take a COVID-19 test at a certified lab and upload the results to their mobile phone. They then complete any additional health screening questionnaires required by the destination country. The solution has been used on Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong–Singapore route, as well as on United's London–New York flights, and will soon begin further trials with JetBlue, Lufthansa, SWISS and Virgin Atlantic.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is also currently in the final development stages of its Travel Pass initiative, which is expected to be released in Q1 2021. IATA says that it sees the Travel Pass as a "global and standardised" solution to the current confusion and complication surrounding crossing international borders. Singapore Airlines is the first airline to trial the solution on flights from Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, which could set the stage for a broader industry roll out. If successful, the airline plans to expand the programme, integrating it with the SingaporeAir app by mid-2021. IATA has stated that the Travel Pass will also be trialled by British Airways.

We could expect that a number of digital health passports will appear on the market in the coming months, however, during his presentation at FTE APEX Virtual Expo, Simon Talling-Smith, Senior Advisor at The Commons Project Foundation, commented that he is sceptical that many will survive as standalone products. "I think it's important that we establish a good level of interoperability and standardisation so that these different solutions can talk to each other," he explained.

4. COVID-19 testing & hygiene

While the industry awaits the complete rollout of a vaccine, COVID-19 testing is seen as a critical step to restoring air travel and airlines and airports have taken it upon themselves to set up testing operations. The polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) tests were commonplace as the pandemic began, but in the past couple of months rapid tests have become increasingly popular, providing results in as little as 30 minutes.

Major carriers like American, United, British Airways, JetBlue and Lufthansa, to name a few, have turned to testing as a safe alternative to travel restrictions and quarantine regimes. In a recent conversation with FTE, Lufthansa Group's Senior Director Product Management Ground & Digital Services Björn Becker, said: "We're convinced that testing is definitely the best way to fight the pandemic, much better than the quarantine. It gives you specific information on your health status, which is good for fighting the pandemic, but also for the travellers, as it gives them security on whether they're infected or not."

A large number of airports around the world have set up COVID-19 test centres, as a way to speed up the process, including Heathrow, Schiphol, Los Angeles International, San Fransisco, Dublin Airport and many more. Testing will no doubt dominate the air transport news in the next few months, as new technology continues to emerge.

Airlines and airports will also continue to upgrade and promote their hygiene and sanitisation measures to restore the passenger confidence in travel. Just this week, the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) announced a new APEX Health Safety initiative, powered by SimpliFlying, awarding airlines for their efforts in ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation. Twelve global airlines have been certified so far, including Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Etihad, JetSmart, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, Spirit, Sri Lankan, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

5. Advanced self-service and biometrics

Biometrics has formed part of our annual trends report for a number of years and this year is no exception. With COVID-19 reinforcing the idea of frictionless travel, the pandemic has also put strong emphasis on biometrics as a must-have technology. In the past couple of years, we have seen the number of airlines and airports that have adopted the technology grow exponentially.

In more recent news, Star Alliance introduced a new interoperable biometric identity and identification platform for screening passengers, which went live in November 2020 at Munich and Frankfurt airports for select Lufthansa Group passengers; Spirit Airlines rolled out biometric check-in at US airports to reduce face-to-face interaction between airlines staff and passengers; Emirates launched an integrated biometric path at Dubai International Airport; Etihad trialled facial biometric check-in for cabin crew; and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) started facilitating biometric boarding of flights for all international departures.

Elsewhere, VINCI Airports became the first airport operator in the world to deploy biometrics throughout the entire passenger journey from home to plane. The airport operator deployed a new travel assistant, called Mona, designed to revolutionise the passenger experience at Lyon Saint Exupéry Airport.

One of the major questions regarding the use of facial recognition during the pandemic has been whether the technology could assess the identity of travellers wearing a mask. The Biometrics Institute recently issued a statement, saying that "the widespread use of masks must mark a step change in how identity is managed and the way facial recognition biometrics are developed and applied".

Indeed, many suppliers have been working to enhance their biometric solutions to allow for passengers to seamlessly go through the biometrics checks without taking off their masks. One such company is NEC, which worked closely with Star Alliance on its latest biometrics programme. During the recent FTE APEX Biometrics Summit, which took place as part of Virtual Expo in December 2020, Raffie Beroukhim, Senior Vice-President and Chief Experience Officer, NEC Corporation of America, said that enabling mask-wearing was an absolute must before the project could be rolled out. "The technology in the Star Alliance biometrics service is trained to overcome this mask issue with accuracies upward of 98%," he explained.

While the rollout of biometrics technology is continuing apace around the world, the adoption in the coming year will be driven largely on return of investment. Once airlines and airports start seeing first signs of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, biometrics technology will undoubtedly be a top priority.

The deployment of new and emerging technologies, such as biometrics and digital health passports, however, brings with it a number of challenges, and protecting customer's data is one of the biggest responsibilities for airlines, airports and their partners. In the very core of such solutions is that they use sensitive personal information and it is essential to address privacy risks at an early stage of the development before a large-scale deployment takes place. So this year, we expect the industry to focus largely on protecting the privacy of passengers, while also tapping into the opportunities created by this new pool of data.

6. E-commerce

With consumers and businesses becoming more tech-savvy than ever before, the growth of online shopping and e-commerce has been significant since the beginning of the pandemic. In the US, for instance, the pandemic has accelerated digital shopping by about five years since March, according to IBM's annual U.S. retail index. Marketplaces like Amazon are flourishing. The e-commerce giant doubled its net profit year over year to $5.2 billion in Q2 2020, compared to $2.6 billion at the same time in 2019. This disruption in the market has been affecting the travel retail business for some time now, and airlines and airports have a real opportunity to take advantage of this digital proposition.

One airline that pivoted its e-commerce business during the pandemic is AirAsia. Last year, the carrier launched its new AirAsia Shop online platform, which enables customers to purchase duty free products and have them conveniently delivered to their doorstep within the next working day.

Considering the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, airports, airlines and their partners will have little choice but to create an attractive e-commerce proposition in order to survive the financial impact of the crisis.

7. Robotics & automation

Robots have already made their way into the airport terminal. Last year, the focus was largely on disinfecting robots and we expect this trend to continue throughout 2021. A number of airports around the world adopted autonomous robots with ultraviolet (UV-C) light technology for cleaning, including Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Hamad International Airport, Heathrow Airport, and Gerald R. Ford International Airport, while Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) deployed a floor-scrubbing robot. Elsewhere, Incheon International Airport adopted non-face-to-face automatic body temperature robots at its departure halls to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections.

Robotics have also dominated the agenda at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest consumer tech event. During the show, LG Electronics presented its autonomous disinfecting robot, LG CLOi, which has been designed to disinfect hotel rooms with UV-C light, and could also have applications beyond hotels, including for instance airport terminals.

In other news, last summer AirAsia announced that it is accelerating its ongoing digital transformation journey by implementing robotic process automation (RPA) in collaboration with Silicon Valley and India-based enterprise automation platform JIFFY.ai. The airline's Chief Transformation Officer Azli Mohamed said the implementation of RPA followed a review of AirAsia's internal processes and workflows, which showed that business process automation can be done easily with the right tools in place.

Moreover, results from a global survey, conducted last year as part of our Air Transport 2035 Think Tank, revealed that 60.3% of respondents expect investment in automation and the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to rise following the COVID-19 crisis.

8. UV cleaning tech

The adoption of hygiene and germ-killing solutions, such as ultraviolet (UV-C) lightbulbs, is also likely to continue throughout the year. Last year, a number of airports in Europe, including Gatwick and Helsinki, invested in UVC light technology to disinfect security trays.

Inflight, we saw JetBlue and Qatar Airways deploy UV technology for cabin cleaning, developed by Honeywell. The Honeywell UV Cabin System is roughly the size of an aircraft beverage cart and has UVC light arms that extend over the top of seats and sweep the cabin to treat aircraft surfaces without using cleaning chemicals. According to Honeywell, the cabin cleaning system can treat an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes. Qatar Airways has since announced that it is planning to acquire additional units in the near future, in order to operate them onboard all aircraft turnarounds at Hamad International Airport (HIA).

9. Social distancing tech

As the pandemic unfolded, social distancing was one of the first prevention methods introduced by airports around the world to minimise the spread of the virus – from floor markings to more high-tech solutions such as people flow management, video analytics and virtual queueing.

In more recent news, JFKIAT, the operator of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, became the first in North America to launch a camera-enabled technology with new SafeDistance capabilities, making T4 the first air terminal in North America to launch this technology. The solution, developed by CrowdVision, helps to monitor social distancing from curbside to check-in and through the security checkpoint in the terminal. Orlando Airport also recently started a pilot programme to monitor crowd density within the airport. The Evenflow Crowd Radar system measures the number of people at the gate areas and delivers the information via digital signs and custom lights throughout the facility. Elsewhere, Stuttgart Airport has been using 3D stereovision sensors to manage people flow across its terminals for the past few years, and is now working with Xovis to determine how existing sensors can be leveraged to manage physical distancing.

Virtual queuing, security checkpoint reservations and 'bingo boarding' have also been among some of the solutions introduced in recent years to minimise queuing at different stages of the passenger journey.

Social distancing is most likely here to stay and minimising passenger crowding would, indeed, be a priority for airports and airlines once passenger numbers bounce back again.

10. Sustainability

While last year the industry was focusing largely on the immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, sustainability remained high on the agenda for airlines and airports.

For instance, early in 2020, Delta Air Lines announced that it is committing $1 billion over the next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business going forward. In his keynote address during FTE APEX Virtual Expo, Delta's CEO Ed Bastian confirmed that despite the pandemic, the airline is continuing its investment in innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.

New fuel technology advancements, such as hydrogen, are also coming to the market. Last September, Airbus unveiled three new concepts relying on hydrogen as a primary power source option which Airbus believes "holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel".

Hydrogen and other advancements may take longer to adopt, but in the meantime, Delta's Bastian encouraged the industry to continue investments in reforestation, clean water and opportunities to recycle and eliminate plastic.

The pressure is certainly on for airlines and airports around the world. Air France-KLM, for example, needs to meet the terms of its bailout from the French government, which states that Air France must slash domestic flights and agree to work towards becoming the world's "most environmentally friendly" airline.

The industry is also turning to technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to manage food waste inflight. Among the most recent initiatives are a robot for the production of meals for economy class introduced by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, as well as a recent trial of machine learning and computer vision from Etihad to reduce food wastage on its flights.

It is evident that the industry is already taking steps in the right direction, but collaboration will be key to achieving sustainable travel in the future.

Trends that will drive the air transport industry recovery in 2021

    Last year saw a surge in COVID-19 technology and design advancements come to the fore, and 2021 will be no exception, as the air transport industry continues to grapple with the economic challenges brought by the pandemic. From contactless solutions to digital health passports and ultraviolet, autonomous cleaning robots, here we highlight the trends and technologies that will play the most important role in driving the air transport industry recovery in 2021

        • Contactless technology
        • Virtual events,
        • Vaccination visas
        • COVID-19 testing & hygiene
        • Advanced self-service, biometrics
        • Robotics & automation
        • UV cleaning tech
        • Sustainability

        The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on transportation companies, especially airports and train stations, because of the travel restrictions implemented by most countries around the world and passengers' growing fear of travel.

        In the aviation industry, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger air transport measured as revenue passenger kilometre was down 94% year-on-year in April 2020, across all regions. Eurostat also observed a dramatic drop in demand for rail transport services. Compared with the second quarter of 2019, the sector experienced a 94% decrease in the number of rail passengers in Ireland, 78% in France, and 77% in Italy.

        In response to the pandemic, transportation companies had to make immediate major operational adjustments, including limiting passenger capacity, introducing intensive cleaning and consolidating terminals. Yet there is also a growing acknowledgment that regaining passengers' trust in the post-COVID-19 world will require significant investment in digital technologies to address health and safety concerns.

        To this end, an increasing number of industry players are turning to facial recognition technology (FRT), which is perceived as an efficient means to ensure a seamless and contactless passenger journey while preventing virus transmission.

        Facial recognition technology requires a robust governing structure

        While the development of this technology creates considerable opportunities for the transportation industry, it also raises serious governance challenges for passengers and citizens alike. Indeed, its deployment may further undermine passengers' privacy, contribute to consolidating surveillance infrastructure and perpetuate systemic racism because of its well-documented bias issue against minorities.

        To address these challenges, the World Economic Forum's governance framework is structured around two key components. Firstly, a self-assessment questionnaire that details the requirements organizations must respect to ensure compliance with the 10 principles for action, which define what responsible use of FRT actually means for this use-case.

        Secondly, we recommend the creation of an audit framework, run by third-party certification bodies, that validates the robustness of the risk-mitigation processes introduced by transportation companies. As such, this initiative represents the most comprehensive response to the risks associated with FRT for flow management applications, led by a global and multi-stakeholder community.

        Major industry actors such as Narita International Airport (Tokyo), NEC corporation have already tested the self-assessment questionnaire with great success. Also, their answers have convinced us that the framework is ripe for wider roll-out and adoption in the aviation industry. Now, other industry players are about to run a similar test.

        2020 | Contactless technologies can help re-start travel

        • The contactless technology is seen as a key measure being increasingly used by transport companies to address passenger fears about virus transmission
        • Potential widespread use raises concerns over privacy, surveillance and racial profiling risks
        • Early success of recommendations show potential for further roll-out
            " an increasing number of industry players are turning to facial recognition technology (FRT), which is perceived as an efficient means to ensure a seamless and contactless passenger journey while preventing virus transmission.
            " Facial recognition allows for passengers' contactless authentication throughout the air terminal pathway.
            Moving forward

            Market forecast confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term effects on the aviation industry, even in the hypothesis of a vaccine being globally accessible by the end of 2021. To recover and then thrive, airports and airline companies will need to adapt to the "new normal". This implies addressing passengers' increased concerns for health and safety through the deployment of facial recognition technology while effectively mitigating the risks associated with this emerging technology. To a lesser extent, the rail industry faces a similar challenge.

            In recent years, public concerns about facial recognition technology have grown and civil society calls for stronger regulation of this emerging technology has intensified. As they rely increasingly on this technology to improve flow management, transportation companies need to adopt an appropriate policy response to maximize its benefits.

            We argue that this can be achieved by adopting our governance framework. Indeed, taking the self-assessment questionnaire and going through the certification scheme, in collaboration with a certification body, is an agile and robust way to build trust with passengers, regulators and citizens.

            In this spirit, we encourage industry players, public actors, civil society representatives, certification bodies, policymakers and academics to join our initiative and participate in our open and experimental approach to strengthen this certification model and ensure its impact.

            With only a few weeks left until the end of 2020, the aviation industry needs to pick itself up and begin rebuilding. In less than 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has emptied its pockets and wiped out passenger numbers, leaving it vulnerable to a global economic recession and in desperate need of recovery.

            Below, we asked some leading aviation members to draw their conclusions from this damning year and answer two key questions: what should a five-year plan for the aviation industry look like? And building on that, what should a ten-year plan look like – presuming passenger numbers bounce back, and growth returns to the agenda?

            What should a five-year plan for the aviation industry look like?

            As reported by Mr.de Oliveira, director general at Airport Council International (ACI) World: "We are trying to create a framework that allows us to work with governments and convince them to replace the quarantines and lockdowns with a risk-based approach and tests. That would mitigate the impact of future rates and infections around the world.
            The industry will recover only if we really work together.

            We'll never go back to the same normal we had before so the industry will need to adapt in the same way it did [after] 9/11 and its new security standards. Hygiene and health standards will need to change too and in the future, we'll need something that provides the public and government with confidence that transmission is not linked with the aviation industry.

            We expect to recover globally around early/mid-2023, however certain parts of the world will recover only in 2024-2025.

            According to Mr.O'Connor, vice president of Airports and Borders at SITA and Dr.Saba at Cranfield University: "Airlines and airports need to adopt new safety measures to meet the new health requirements being introduced to reduce "hand contact" in the airport, ensure social distancing and remove some services from the airport to reduce congestion.

            Aviation's future profitability will depend on a digital shift. The air transport industry will need to consider and use the right platforms to enable travellers to move seamlessly through the airport.

            Introducing resilient, intelligent and agile systems that increase efficiencies and can respond to unpredictable fluxes in passenger numbers will become the determining factor for a sustainable future. For aircraft, this digital shift will be mainly around digitising operations for smarter working through greater communication on board and air/ground.

            Connectivity and big data will undoubtedly be a key requirement of the future of the aviation sector. The acceleration of technology means airports and airlines need to plan better, track technology and regulatory developments, and adapt to new transportation modes, so a new digital ecosystem can be in place and shaped to fully serve the passenger.

            According to Mr.Goater, an IATA spokesman: "A priority is to open up borders and relax quarantine measures. Until this happens, travel, tourism and trade will remain in the doldrums. In particular, airline debt levels are increasing as they take on loans to get them through the current crisis.

            In general, the industry will need to demonstrate to its customers that we remain a safe industry. Giving travellers the confidence to fly will be crucial. The industry will need to focus on resilience in the face of possible future pandemics.

            We may have to live with restrictions and comprehensive health measures for some time, so all parts of the industry will need to adapt to that. An example is removing pinch points at airports to help with social distancing.

            What should a ten-year plan look like – presuming passengers numbers bounce back, and growth returns to the agenda?

            Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World:
            In ten years we'll probably see the totality or majority of airports using touchless technologies, biometrics, facial recognition. The way that the industry will adapt to improve health standards will continue as well with a lot of measures that will have to be linked with technology. So investment will have to be heavily focused on technology.

            Chris Goater, IATA:
            The story of the decade to come will, we hope, be a return to traffic growth beyond the 2019 peak from 2024 onwards. This will mean that some of the key challenges that are associated with rising passenger numbers will come back. Two key examples are infrastructure and environment. Crowded infrastructure will be a problem and we know that we cannot expect to simply build our way out of it.

            Similarly, airspace capacity is limited by political and procedural problems. These challenges are capable of being overcome, but the 'pause' in growth as a result of Covid-19 gives us a rare opportunity to get ahead of the game. We will need to work closely with our airport and air navigation service providers to ensure infrastructure, in terms of costs and capacity, is fit for purpose once this pandemic crisis is behind us.

            Andrew O'Connor, SITA:
            With the expected recovery, we anticipate that over the next five to ten years the industry will start to focus on a return to the 'golden age' of travel from the 50s and 60s. Border management, identity and risk, operations and automation will continue to be a focus area even after the pandemic.

            Airports, for example, will look to make travel less visible and intrusive for the passenger so that passengers have a walkthrough airport experience. With biometrics, once enrolled, your face becomes your passport so you can walk through an airport without using your passport and you will no longer have to stop at any touchpoint from check-in to boarding.

            Ali Shah, TravelUp:
            In ten years, the pandemic should be a distant memory, with the travel industry thriving once again. If all goes to plan and the new trust system is implemented, we will have engendered a healthier relationship between airline, agent and passenger, and have years of customer feedback through which to further tailor our systems.

            Ian Risk, CFMS:
            Many industries are adopting digital technology to design, build and operate engineering projects more efficiently. Airport operators and developers should adopt the same systems to add in more planning flexibility and to help understand how to evolve airports successfully in conjunction with the rest of the transport system.

            We'll need to see much better collaboration between all stakeholders to make the industry sustainable in the interim.

            2020 | What should a 5-10-year plan for the aviation industry look like?

            " Airports and airlines need to plan better and adapt to new transportation modes, so a new digital ecosystem can be in place and shaped to fully serve the passenger.
            The aviation industry is in disarray and as the post-Covid-19 reality dawns, a plan is urgently needed. As the sector debates on how to re-establish passenger confidence, we asked a range of experts: what should aviation do in the short and long-term to forge a path to recovery?
            But despite the gloom, the pandemic is likely to have a lasting positive impact on the industry by forcing airports to rapidly adopt better design and technology features which may have taken years to implement without the onset of COVID-19.

            Biometric sytems, which typically use facial recognition to identify passengers, have always held the promise of speeding up check-in times, from curb to gate. This technology also drastically reduces the need for passenger interaction and the chance of touching surfaces such as the screens on check-in kiosks which could be holding COVID-19. Airports are now increasingly "using biometric technology to do the full passenger flow, from when you get into the airport until you get on the plane, and thus requiring you to touch less things, to interact less with other people, and is able to give you the social distancing required.

            Automated screening systems which remove the need to pat-down passengers and inspect their hand luggage can also shorten check-in times. The makers of one these systems employed at Oakland International in the US, for example, say it can screen up to 800 people per hour.

            Airports are also likely to be far cleaner places as operators respond to passengers' new hygiene habits. This will include the deployment of more sanitation stations.

            Designers have also begun envisaging how airports can adapt to the realities of COVID-19 travel in ways which don't necessarily involve the adoption of sophisticated and expensive new technology. "Airport design" will be more about the efficient use of the space available on both the airside and landside of terminal facilities, so that we can improve the usage of high-density areas such as holdrooms and concessions seating," Scott Gorenc, studio design director for Corgan's aviation studio, said in an interview published by AirportTechnology this month.

            Gorenc told the industry site that passengers need to be encouraged to venture away from gates and holdrooms through the creation of unique amenities. He cited the aquarium at Vancouver Airport as a good example of this. But simpler additions, such as lounge seating or pop-up retail, could also help disperse passengers more.

            | World Economic Forum 2020

            How is covid-19 changing airports?

            • Air passenger traffic declined 98% in April as the pandemic hit.
            • The crisis has prompted a faster uptake of technologies such as biometric testing.
            • COVID-19 is likely to prompt long-term changes to airport design.
            COVID-19 has wreaked huge damage on the world's once-booming aviation sector. Passenger numbers have plummeted and many airlines have warned they may not survive if the pandemic drags on much longer.

            Airports have not been spared, either. Corporación América Airports, which operates 52 airports globally, said a combination of flight restrictions and bans resulted in a 98% decline in passenger traffic in April. "This is the worst disruption in the life of this industry since it became mainstream 50 years ago," said Corporación América Airports CEO Martin Eurnekian, during a session on how to rebuild travel and tourism held at the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit.
                June 2020 passenger traffic foreshadowed the slower-than-expected recovery. Traffic, measures in RPK, fell 86.5% compared to the year-ago period. That is only slightly improved from a 91.0% contraction in May. This was driven by rising demand in domestic markets, particularly China. The June load factor set an all-time low for the month at 57.6%.

                IATA's revised baseline forecast is for global enplanements to fall 55% in 2020 compared to 2019 (the April forecast was for a 46% decline). Passenger numbers are expected to rise 62% in 2021 off the depressed 2020 base, but still will be down almost 30% compared to 2019. A full recovery to 2019 levels is not expected until 2023, one year later than previously forecast.

                Meanwhile, since domestic markets are opening ahead of international markets, and because passengers appear to prefer short haul travel in the current environment, RPKs will recover more slowly, with passenger traffic expected to return to 2019 levels in 2024, one year later than previously forecast. Scientific advances in fighting COVID-19 including development of a successful vaccine, could allow a faster recovery. However, at present there appears to be more downside risk than upside to the baseline forecast.

                "Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak. What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK's weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travelers returning from Spain. And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

                "For airlines, this is bad news that points to the need for governments to continue with relief measures—financial and otherwise. A full Northern Winter season waiver on the 80-20 use-it-or-lose it slot rule, for example, would provide critical relief to airlines in planning schedules amid unpredictable demand patterns. Airlines are planning their schedules. They need to keep sharply focused on meeting demand and not meeting slot rules that were never meant to accommodate the sharp fluctuations of a crisis. The earlier we know the slot rules the better, but we are still waiting for governments in key markets to confirm a waiver," said de Juniac.

                The Bottom Line

                "Domestic traffic improvements notwithstanding, international traffic, which in normal times accounts for close to two-thirds of global air travel, remains virtually non-existent. Most countries are still closed to international arrivals or have imposed quarantines, that have the same effect as an outright lockdown. Summer — our industry's busiest season — is passing by rapidly; with little chance for an upswing in international air travel unless governments move quickly and decisively to find alternatives to border closures, confidence-destroying stop-start re-openings and demand-killing quarantine.

                IATA also sees potential for accurate, fast, scalable and affordable testing measures and comprehensive contact tracing to play a role in managing the risk of virus spread while re-connecting economies and re-starting travel and tourism. "We need to learn to manage the risks of living with COVID-19 with targeted and predictable measures that will safely re-build traveler confidence and shattered economies.

                2020 | Recovery Delayed as International Travel Remains Locked Down

                Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an updated global passenger forecast showing that the recovery in traffic has been slower than had been expected.

                In the base case scenario:
                • Global passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.
                • The recovery in short haul travel is still expected to happen faster than for long haul travel. As a result, passenger numbers will recover faster than traffic measured in RPKs. Recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels, however, will also slide by a year from 2022 to 2023. For 2020, global passenger numbers (enplanements) are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46%.
                  • Airlines, airports, handling companies, travel and tourism sector as a whole face an unprecedented challenge from the coronavirus pandemic.
                  • For the industry to recover, travellers will need to feel safe and confident that their health is protected.
                  • There will be a shift to touchless travel and a new health safety regime, supported by digital tools.

                  Here are two key areas of transformation in which digital technologies will shape the future of travel.

                  Touchless travel
                  The most immediate and perhaps most visible change will be a shift to touchless travel from airport curbside to hotel check-in. Even with strict cleaning protocols in place, exchanging travel documents and touching surfaces through check-in, security, border control, and boarding still represent a significant risk of infection for both travellers and staff.

                  Automation across the entire sector will become the new norm. Biometrics are already a widely accepted solution for identity verification, and their use will become more widespread as physical fingerprint and hand scanners are phased out. More touchless options will come into play including contactless fingerprint, as well as iris and face recognition. Moreover, technology for touchless data-entry such as gesture control, touchless document scanning and voice commands are already being tested.

                  Digital health passports
                  From now on, health could be embedded in every aspect of travel. According to a survey by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), measures such as visible sanitizing, screening and masks all increase passengers' feelings of safety when thinking about travelling after COVID-19.

                  To date, there is no standard or agreement on the acceptable level of risk for reopening borders or allowing individuals to travel. Until a vaccine is developed, the focus is shifting to assessing the risk of individual passengers. With the passenger's consent, travel companies and airlines could use personal data such as their age, underlying health conditions and travel history to compile an individual risk profile.

                  Efforts to develop health protocols and standards using digital technology for the travel and tourism industry are still in their initial stages. In the meantime, airlines such as Emirates are conducting on-site COVID-19 testing for passengers. European airports have begun drawing up industry guidelines for passenger health screening. While not new, the use of thermal cameras at airports is becoming more widespread. A number of symptom-tracking and contact-tracing apps now exist in many countries. Apple and Google are close to finalizing a contact-tracing software scheme for developers to build compatible apps.

                  However any solutions need to be transparent and secure if travellers are to embrace them. Data should be shared on an 'authorized to know' and 'need to know' basis, with informed consent and in line with applicable regulations.

                  The digital traveller

                  Many organisations are already well advanced in their digital journey. Integrated digital identity solutions are key to realising touchless travel. They also allow organizations to draw on multiple data points to efficiently assess a person's risk profile, enabling them to manage risks in real time.

                  The World Economic Forum's Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) initiative is an example of such an approach. This initiative brings together a global consortium of individuals, governments, authorities and the travel industry to facilitate safe and seamless journeys. Consortium partners can access verifiable claims of a traveller's identity data to improve passenger processing and reduce risk. Travellers can manage their own profile, collect digital 'attestations' of their identity data and decide which information to share.

                  In a COVID-19 context, a traveller would be able to securely obtain and store trusted, verifiable health credentials such as immunizations or their health status in their digital identity wallets. This would be combined with other trusted, verifiable identity data from public or private entities.

                  Testing and health screening at airports is difficult to achieve at scale. Under schemes like Known Traveller Digital Identity, travellers would be able to consent to sharing their identity and health data in advance of the journey, allowing border officials to conduct any required risk assessments in advance of the journey while avoiding queuing and bottlenecks at airports.

                  Collaboration is key

                  In this time of unprecedented change, governments and industry have a unique opportunity to redefine travel and build a more sustainable, agile, and resilient industry. This will not be possible without collaboration.

                  In the near term, stakeholders will need to cooperate to accelerate the use of digital technologies. Next, they will need to develop a cohesive policy and legal regime around the deployment of digital technologies that balance the protection of civil liberties and public health. The third challenge is to ensure that different digital identity solutions can operate together. The role of organizations such as the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will be critical to align health and aviation priorities, guidelines and policies.

                  Paper passports are still required as the main form of identity for travellers. In a contactless world, the adoption of standardized digital travel credentials and initiatives like IATA's ONE ID concept, which promote the use of biometrics for a smoother journey, must be accelerated and adapted to this new context.

                  Ultimately, the pandemic is likely to speed up two trends that have been gathering steam for some time. One is seamless travel, where your face and body are your passport. The other is the idea of a decentralized identity. This means the individual is in possession of and controls their identity attributes, such as their date and place of birth and physical characteristics, but also travel history, health information and other data. Combined, these trends will ensure travel is enjoyable, efficient and safe.

                  | World Economic Forum

                  2020 | Here's what air travelling could be like after the pandemic

                  We will travel again, but it will not be the same. And when all borders will reopen, travellers must trust that boarding a plane is safe and that they will be able to enter the destination country. New health safety protocols and systems will need to be in place, and these have yet to be defined.
                  Airports Council International (ACI) World reports that global passenger traffic grew by +4.9% in December 2019 compared to December 2018.

                  While the figure marked a positive end to 2019 after a challenging year for the air transport industry, it comes as the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak start to appear in traffic results in 2020.

                  Based on a preliminary sample of major commercial airports data tell us that airports experienced +3.4% growth in total passenger traffic, continuing a moderation trend compared to 2018's +6.4%.

                  The freight industry's preliminary end-of-year results stood at -2.5%, close to six percentage points below the +3.4% figure posted in 2018. While a slow recovery in freight volumes had begun in the last three months of the year, that uptrend will be affected by the ongoing global public health emergency.

                  "With ongoing trade wars and rising geopolitical tension in the Middle East, the global environment in 2019 was certainly challenging for air transport," ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said.

                  "Though a recovery for the freight industry was starting to emerge in the later part of the year, we now face a health crisis that could stifle the uptrend and lead us into another volatile year in 2020.

                  "The developing situation may not be a momentary shock to the air transport industry; rather it has the potential to produce a significant shift in this year's global economic growth trend."

                  ACI collects and analyses data from a significant sample of airports that provide regular reports on month-by-month passenger and air freight statistics; this forms part of the world's most comprehensive source for airport data.

                  Passenger traffic

                  The international and domestic passenger segments temporarily converged in December, with the domestic market posting a particularly strong +4.9% growth rate, equal to that of the international market. The international market remained the main driver of the industry for the full year, however, posting a preliminary +4.1% growth figure. The domestic market stood at +2.8% for the same period.

                  North America and Asia-Pacific both departed from the moderating trend of prior months in December, gaining +6.4% and +6.0% respectively on a year-over year basis, with the regions' international and domestic segments both performing well. The two regional markets remained in line with the world average for full-year growth, at +3.4% and +3.0% respectively.

                  Europe's performance was more tempered in December, gaining +2.8% on a year-over-year basis and ending the year at +3.2%. The region's domestic market dragged down its monthly results, declining for the sixth consecutive month, at -1.8% in December and reaching -0.2% for 2019.

                  In emerging regional markets, Africa continued to perform particularly well. Its December growth rate reached +6.0%, close to its preliminary year-end figure of +6.7%. Both its domestic and international segments have been growing at a similar rate in 2019, ending the year with +6.8% and +6.5% respectively.

                  The Middle East gained +4.6% in December, bringing its year-end result to +3.3%. Latin America-Caribbean, its domestic market offsetting weak performance in its international segment, grew by +3.1% during the month, ending the year with +3.7% growth.

                  Freight volumes

                  December figures, on a year-over-year basis, were relatively encouraging for the freight industry. Domestic freight saw a surge of six percentage points during the month, reaching +4.5% on a year-over-year basis. The segment's year-end results reached +1.3%. International freight remained in the negative during the month, posting a -2.1% decline. The year-end results for the segment stood at -4.1%.

                  Though Asia-Pacific posted a +1.4% gain in December, its preliminary year-end results remained quite far below other major markets, at -4.3%. Europe followed at +0.6% for the month, its end-of-year figure reaching -2.4%.

                  North America posted +0.2% in December and ended the year with -0.5%, supported by its strong domestic market. Though the region's growth trend has been volatile in the last six months, it has remained the best -performing major market in 2019.

                  In emerging markets, December was a rather difficult month. The Middle East declined by -4.5% over December 2018, reaching -2.8% for the whole of 2019. Africa declined by -4.7%, bringing its year-end result to -0.2%. Latin America-Caribbean suffered a particularly strong downtick in December, at -5.5%, due to a weakening international market. The region's year-end result stood at -3.5%.

                  "The month's figures may be showing the calm before the storm," Angela Gittens said. "Though forecasts on global economic growth in 2020 had originally predicted a recovery from 2019's weaker performance, the sudden shock represented by the COVID-19 outbreak could stifle that recovery and prolong the period of downward pressure on the air freight industry."

                  2020 | ACI World finds global passenger growth moderated as 2019 drew to a close

                  While the figure marked a positive end to 2019 after a challenging year for the air transport industry, it comes as the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak start to appear in traffic results in 2020.

                  As the world's population continues to grow the demand for air travel also increases. For airports to be able to match the needs of all future passengers, proper infrastructure must be developed. This is time-consuming and can take many years for new infrastructure to be operationally ready in order to extend airport capacity to landside operations. During this period, airport operators are faced with the challenge of relying on existing facilities while the new one is being properly deployed to prevent running into any shortages. This balancing act requires robust planning and collaboration among all staff.

                  Integrated planning and de-siloing

                  One of the most valuable tools for the development of airport infrastructure is an integrated planning approach between all different process units, stakeholders, and time zones from long-term predictions until the day-of-operations. Initiatives like the Airport Operations Plan (AOP) by Eurocontrol and SESAR show the optimization potential when using a collaborative approach. The AOP was created as follow-up of the A-CDM initiative and aims to connect all divisions at an airport for planning, monitoring, and post-analysis of the process (steps included). An integrated planning approach enables the identification of bottlenecks that might occur in cross-dependency with other checkpoints along the passenger journey. This can create an organizational challenge – working in collaboration across hierarchies towards a joint vision.

                  In data we trust

                  As the saying goes, "You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data" (Daniel Keys Moran). With technological developments evolving faster than airports can keep up with, the amount of available data is also increasing – which means the demand to create analytic capabilities is an absolute must. Airports need to build up business intelligence (BI) teams and data officers to take full advantage of what is available and in turn ensure airports are seizing opportunities from a business perspective. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are two technologies that can heavily support and reduce individual work, which can cut costs. Currently, there is still a need for individuals to set these up and steer processes to properly decode the findings. Nevertheless, these technologies will change the way we work in the future. From biometrics to object identification and smart self-learning predictions, the potential use-cases are huge and will further help to optimize airport operations. The major advantage is the amount of data that is produced by these systems will provide key information to be able to create an airport digital identity, the so-called digital twin. This digital "copy" of the airport environment and all its resources, facilities in combination with key metrics would allow for stakeholders to make decisions on the fly as well as immediate what-if scenarios to make solution findings easier.

                  Learning from real-life examples

                  Examples of successful digital relationships within the industry do exist, proving that collaboration and the optimization of data exchange can improve overall operational efficiency. Digitalization can improve transparency, communication, and the management of an entire airport. For example, Frankfurt Airport implemented an operational data warehouse to build the foundation for their analytics touching on various business units. This data provides new insights allowing to further develop data-driven projects. The use of forecasting and simulation helped Frankfurt Airport link flight related activities to passenger processing and as a result empowering planners and operations to further optimize the usage of facilities and resources.

                  Capacity meets technology

                  In order to meet the growing demand, there is an absolute necessity in combining technology when collaborating in optimizing airport infrastructure. Capital expenditures for IT solutions are normally less than spending in concrete creating a higher value of the existing costs per square meters per passenger. Ensuring the future of airports is built smart with the right tools in hand is exactly how airports will provide passengers the journey they expect.

                  by Andreas Hofmann

                  2020 | Do airports need new facilities to increase capacity?

                  As the world's population continues to grow the demand for air travel also increases.
                  The Montreal Convention establishes a sliding-scale of limits for liability for damage caused in connection with the carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo, by which the relative currency quote is taken into account in world trade and financial systems in conjunction with the compound inflation rate.

                  Article 24 of the Convention provides for a review by ICAO of limits of liability every five years. In case of exceeding the inflation rate of 10%, an adjustment of the limits is initiated. Such an event took place in 2009 and repeated in 2019.
                  The specified limits of liability are expressed in SDRs units - special drawing rights, which are the estimated monetary unit used by the International Monetary Fund.

                  Effective as of 28 December 2019, the data on the change in the limits of responsibility of states are shown in the following table:

                  2019 | Revised Limits of Liability Under the Montreal Convention of 1999

                  The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a notice on the revision of the limits of liability established under the international air law document "Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air" (Montreal Convention of 1999) for damage caused in connection with the carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo.
                  As of October 31, 2019, the cost of 1 SDR is 1.37 USD.
                  States Parties to the Montreal Convention of 1999 are accordingly invited to make provisions as necessary in accordance with their domestic legal requirements to give full effect as of 28 December 2019 to the revised limits.
                  Federal Law No. 493-FZ (Russia) introduced significant changes in the VAT treatment of airport services:
                  • VAT exemption applies to air navigation services
                  • VAT on ground handling services rendered in international airports as per the list formulated by the Russian Government is zeroed.

                  The list of qualifying services as approved by Government Resolution No. 749 of 10 June 2019 is more generalised. Furthermore, the list covers only the services rendered under the contracts with the Russian carriers. With respect to the foreign airlines, VAT zeroing will apply only to the contractually agreed services.

                  The list of ground handling services rendered in the Russian international airports subject to zero VAT:
                  1. Services rendered upon arrival and (or) departure of an aircraft used for international flights, provided for by the contracts between service providers (or their agents) and Russian-registered carriers (or their agents), including:
                  • take-off, landing, taxiing, and parking services
                  • airport terminal services
                  • aviation security
                  • ground handling of aircraft, passengers, crew, luggage, cargo and mail
                  • aircraft maintenance.

                  2. Services rendered upon arrival and (or) departure of an aircraft used for international flights, provided for by the contracts between service providers (or their agents) and foreign-registered carriers (or their agents).

                  2019 | Zeroing VAT on ground handling and air navigation services in Russia for international flights

                  Gov. Resolution No. 749, Russia introduced significant changes in the VAT treatment of airport services for both, domestic and foreign-registered carriers.
                  According to ACI World's latest World Airport Traffic Report, passenger numbers are estimated to have reached 8.8 billion in 2018, an increase of 6.4 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition, the world's airports accommodated 122.7 million metric tonnes of cargo and almost 100 million aircraft movements.

                  While growth moderated slightly compared to 2017, passenger traffic remained resilient in the face of the global uncertainties affecting many major economies. The 2018 increase is still above the 5.8 per cent compounded average annual growth rate for passenger traffic from 2010 through 2018.

                  While advanced economies held the largest proportion (52.8 per cent) of global passenger traffic, airport traffic in emerging markets and developing economies grew faster (8.3 per cent) than in advanced economies (4.8 per cent) in 2018. During 2018, the highest number of passengers travelled through airports in the Asia-Pacific region:

                  1. Asia-Pacific (3.3 billion, 8.1 per cent)
                  2. Europe (2.4 billion, 6.4 per cent)
                  3. North America (two billion, 5.0 per cent)
                  4. Latin America-Caribbean (651 million, 5.0 per cent)
                  5. Middle East (396 million, 0.7 per cent)
                  6. Africa (214 million, 9.4 per cent).
                  In ACI's view, protectionist policies, slowing global economy and geopolitical tensions represent the most pressing downside risks over the near-term for continued growth. In addition, physical capacity considerations and potential bottlenecks in air transport infrastructure continue to pose challenges in accommodating future demand.

                  ACI World Director General, Angela Gittens, said: "Protectionist rhetoric – fuelled by isolationist policies – has swept several major economies in recent times and this has translated into a dismantling of established open trade relationships and regimes. Because aviation has strong links to the global economy and to local development through commerce and tourism, these new barriers may restrain the efficient flow of people, goods and services; air transport very much relies on open markets to grow. Despite this, passenger traffic has remained resilient, posting annual growth rates above historical averages with the cost of travel decreasing in many markets and middle-class populations burgeoning in emerging markets."

                  The report found that the air cargo market did not fare as well as passenger traffic in 2018. Global year-over-year volume fell by 1.7 per cent in December 2018 against the previous year, bringing growth for 2018 overall to a positive 3.4 per cent.

                  Gittens continued: "If these isolationist policies persist, their adverse effects will continue to stifle output growth in many countries. Economies that rely more on exports or carry higher debt loads will be most sensitive to a downturn, further exacerbating economic conditions. In fact, ACI data show that global passenger traffic growth was subdued in the first half of 2019 with a moderate increase of 3.6 per cent year-over-year recorded for the first six months so it is apparent the global economic slowdown is having an impact on aviation markets. Air cargo has felt an even greater impact as volumes handled by the world's major airports contracted by 3.2 per cent in the first half of 2019. A resolution to the trade disputes will help put aviation markets back on track."

                  Even with these short-term challenges, however, ACI World's global medium-term forecast show almost 30 per cent growth in passenger numbers from 2018 to 2023. Over the longer term, passenger traffic worldwide is expected to double in 17 years and projected to grow at an annualised rate of +4.1 per cent, reaching 20.9 billion by 2040.

                  "From these forecasts, we can see that the airport industry is engaged in a balancing act as it seeks to meet surging air transport demand which, in many cases, is outstripping available airport infrastructure," Gittens said.

                  Of the top 20 markets, the United Kingdom has the largest number of international passengers – almost 250 million passengers – while the United States has the largest domestic market (nearly 1.6 billion passengers, 32.9 per cent of the world's domestic passenger throughput). Africa (9.4 per cent), Asia-Pacific (8.1 per cent) and Europe (6.4 per cent) posted strong growth in passenger traffic.

                  2019 | Emerging markets are growing faster than advanced economies

                  ACI World Airport Traffic Report shows passenger growth resilience, despite global uncertainty, as emerging markets flourish in the face of adversity.
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