Airports in Asia-pacific region stare at $5.6 billion loss in first quarter: ACI

Mumbai, Mar 27 () The airport industry is expected to report USD 5.6 billion loss in the first quarter following a traffic volume loss of about 1.5 billion passengers in the Asia-Pacific region due to prolonged duration of coronavirus outbreak, Airports Council International said on Friday.

"Taking into account the rapid developments, ACI estimates place the first quarter loss in Asia-Pacific in the range of USD 5.6 billion, almost double earlier estimates, a large portion of which comes from the contraction in traffic as well as non-aeronautical revenue.

"The impact on the Middle East will generate a loss of approximately USD 1 billion for the first quarter and at least double for the full year," the global grouping said.

Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific has also revised the revenue forecast for 2020, according to which the revenue impact on the aerodromes in the APAC region is expected to the tune of USD 23.9 billion and USD 5.75 billion for the airports in the Middle-East region.Advertisement

The impact on revenue is irrespective of the airport size, it said in a release.

Stating that a large portion of the losses is expected to come on account of contraction in traffic as well as non-aeronautical revenue, it said the impact on the Middle East will generate a loss of approximately USD 1-billion for the first quarter and at least double for the full year.

The airport industry in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East employs more than 63 per cent of aviation industry jobs, which include airport management, maintenance, and security to retail outlets, food and beverage and duty-free concessionaires, according to the grouping.

ACI-Asia Pacific also urged governments across the APAC region to swiftly implement relief measures to safeguard airport employment and connectivity.

The crisis is impacting airports of all sizes. Analysis of preliminary weekly passenger data from January to the middle of March at 12 major hubs in Asia-Pacific, handling around 22 per cent of traffic in the region, show the increasing traffic deterioration, culminating in an average decrease in traffic by more than 80 per cent by the second week of March compared to the same period in 2019, it said."The updated analysis paints an extremely challenging picture for our airport members who have already burnt through about 10 per cent of total yearly revenues in just three months. Every passenger lost by an airline is equally a passenger lost by an airport.Advertisement

"Relief measures are needed now for the sake of the entire aviation sector's resilience to save jobs and allow economic recovery," said Stefano Baronci, Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific.

Legislators have to carefully balance survival and revival measures, addressing both the urgency of short-term needs with smart initiatives that will also facilitate a strong recovery down the road. Several governments are still pondering which measures to apply as the crisis unfolds. ACI Asia-Pacific strongly advocates for policy measures that benefit all parties of the aviation sectors without prejudice in favouring airlines, Baronci added.

A number of small airports in the region, those defined by handling less than one million passengers per year, are also heavily affected by the crisis, as per ACI-Asia Pacific.Advertisement

The role played by airport networks in several countries in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East will be essential to enable the long-term social and economic benefits of connectivity. ACI Asia-Pacific recommends dedicated funding to keep these small airports operating and ensuring their economic sustainability, it added. IAS BAL

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