Airports Council International (ACI) World has laid out a roadmap it hopes will plot a path to the recovery of the airport sector following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organization highlights that aviation is a vital strategic sector for national and global economies, and essential for trade, business, tourism and economic growth. However, its most recent forecasts suggest the airport industry is anticipating global passenger numbers to decrease by 5.6 billion this year, along with an unprecedented US$104.5bn (€86.6bn) reduction in revenue.
Its document, Policy Brief: Path to the airport industry recovery—Restoring a sustainable economic equilibrium, puts forward policy and assistance proposals that governments can adopt to both accelerate the global industry restart and ensure a sustained long-term recovery.
It urges governments to alleviate travel restrictions – as soon as recommended by national and international health authorities – and to conduct a proper cost-benefit analysis to decide whether to continue levying passenger-based taxes or if higher national income could be generated from the additional economic activity arising from aviation.
Governments are also urged to support the financial viability of the industry through direct financial support that benefits the entire aviation ecosystem to protect essential operations and jobs. Additionally, and in accordance with World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations, ACI argues that costs related to public health measures aimed at mitigating the spread of communicable diseases should be borne by national governments.
“As the airport sector, an integral part of the global aviation ecosystem, has been among the industries most affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic and is confronted by a crisis of liquidity and existential uncertainty, financial support is urgently needed to support industry restart and protect essential operations,” stressed ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira.
“An efficient aviation industry is a key driver of economic and social development and the recovery of air transport, therefore, is indispensable to the recovery of the global economy. Airports generate 60% of direct employment in the aviation sector.
“Unprecedent times require unprecedent measures, and timely and appropriate government action that will facilitate the recovery of the entire industry with coordinated and targeted assistance and policy support is urgently needed.”
Other measures put forward in the document include governmental provision of short term loans to address liquidity issues, waiving of rents and concession fees and relaxation of policy on areas such as duty-free allowances to stimulate sales.