International air passenger volume during 2022 is expected to show some improvements especially in the second half of the year but will be only slightly above two billion passengers, corresponding to 53.8% of 2019 volume, said the Airports Council International (ACI) World in a new report.
Meanwhile, domestic traffic volume is projected to recover faster in 2022 than international passenger traffic, reaching a total of 4.46 billion passengers in 2022, or 84% of 2019 volume, according to the ACI data on the impact of Covid-19 on global passenger traffic and the airport business, as the industry embarks on a potential turning point in the recovery of travel.
Despite slower than expected recovery and persisting financial challenges, the easing of travel restrictions in key aviation markets brings some renewed optimism and momentum amid the addition of new geo political tensions.
By 2021, the crisis is forecast to have removed 5.4 billion passengers compared to the projected baseline (the pre-Covid-19 forecast for 2021), representing a loss of 55% of global passenger traffic. This represents less than half of what it was in 2019, with traffic for 2021 totalling only 4.4 billion (48.3%) of the 9.2 billion passengers served two years ago.
Domestic traffic continued to drive recovery, reaching close to 3.4 billion passengers corresponding to 63.4% of 2019 levels. International passenger traffic volume lagged significantly behind domestic traffic recovery in 2021 and is estimated to total only 1.05 billion passengers for the year, or 27.8% of the 2019 level.
In 2022, the Covid-19 crisis is expected to remove close to 3.7 billion passengers during the year compared to the projected baseline, representing a 36.1% decline in global passenger traffic. Compared to 2019 levels, this would represent a 28.9% decrease.
The Covid-19 crisis continued to severely affect airport revenues in 2021. It is now estimated that, globally, airports have lost more than $83.1 billion in revenues in 2021.
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the airport industry was expected to generate more than $175.8 billion in revenues in 2022. However, the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on airport revenues will continue in 2022, reducing them by an additional $60.8 billion, or 34.6%, compared to the projected baseline. Airport revenues in 2022 are forecast to only reach 72.6% of 2019 levels.
The momentum created by plans to reopen will certainly have a positive impact on the global economic recovery. The performance of the global economy has accelerated in the last months of 2021 as more pandemic restrictions were removed, facilitating the trade in goods, and enabling the manufacturing and services sectors to grow.