Dubai International Airport (DXB) has clinched the global top rank for welcoming the highest number of international passengers at 17.8 million during the first quarter of the year, despite recording a year-on-year drop of 19.9 per cent over the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, a report said.
DXB was also ranked the fourth busiest airport globally for total passenger traffic in the first quarter of the year, after Atlanta, Beijing and Los Angeles, said the new report released by Airports Council International (ACI) World.
ACI has revealed in the report its preliminary world airport traffic rankings covering passenger traffic, cargo volumes, and aircraft movements for 2019 combined with a glimpse of 2020 data which shows the dramatic impact of Covid-19 on airports in the first quarter.
Passenger traffic at the world’s top 20 busiest airports grew by 1.7 per cent in 2019. With more than 1.5 billion passengers passing through their terminals, this group of 20 represented 17 per cent of global passenger traffic.
The ongoing Covid-19 crisis, however, has brought airports around the world to a virtual standstill, resulting in airport traffic and revenue losses across all regions. ACI World now estimates a reduction of more than 4.6 billion passengers and more than $97 billion in revenue for 2020.
The combined 2019 and 2020 data shows the dramatic decline in air travel in the first quarter of 2020. In the top five, Beijing Airport notably experienced a -62.6 per cent decline in passenger traffic but large decreases were also recorded across other top 20 airports in Asia-Pacific as the Covid-19 outbreak began to take hold in that region.
“ACI data shows that the outbreak of Covid-19 had a dramatic and immediate impact on the world’s airports and the wider aviation ecosystem,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “From a period of sustained passenger traffic growth in 2019, the industry is now in survival mode, crippled by the loss of passenger traffic and revenues.
“This year will pose major and unprecedented challenges for the industry as the impacts of travel restrictions and lockdown measures introduced in response to the pandemic remain an existential threat to the aviation industry unless governments can provide appropriate relief and assistance.
“Airports are critical in the air transport ecosystem which is a key driver of local, regional and national economies. Financial relief and assistance is urgently needed.”
As for cargo, against a global economic backdrop that remained quite challenging, air cargo volume experienced a decline of -3.9 per cent at the world’s top 20 airports as they handled a combined 48 million metric tons of cargo. Hong Kong Airport remains the largest air cargo hub, handling 4.8 million metric tons of cargo in 2019, but it experienced a decline in volume of -6.1 per cent compared to 2018. Memphis Airport was in second place and Shanghai Airport came in third.
All three experienced considerable declines in the first quarter of 2020 while Louisville Airport and Incheon recorded growth in cargo during the first stages of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Aircraft movements grew by +1.5 per cent in 2019 for the top 20 airports. Chicago O’Hare remained the busiest airport in the world for aircraft movements, with Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson Airport coming in a close second. Both saw movements decrease in the first quarter of 2020.
Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation.
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