Dubai- The list of the world’s busiest airports for 2019 has been announced, and it highlights the rapid decline of air travel in the midst of the emerging coronavirus pandemic..
The preliminary data, published by the Airport Trade Association, “Airports Council International”, on Tuesday showed that passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports grew by 1.7% in 2019.
However, that was before the Covid-19 crisis nearly shut down the world’s airports.
“The demand has largely disappeared,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens.
Gittens stated that the movement has decreased by more than 90%, and that border restrictions and long quarantines on travelers are in effect in many places.
ACI estimates that 4.6 million passengers will pass through airports in 2020, with revenues falling by $ 97 billion.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is the busiest in the world, saw 110.5 million passengers in 2019.
In the first quarter of 2020, the airport recorded 20.7 million passengers, a decrease of more than 18% compared to the same period last year.
And the steepest drop in passenger traffic appeared in the first quarter of 2020 in China, where the new Corona virus appeared. Beijing Capital International Airport witnessed a 62.6% decrease in the number of passengers in the first three months of 2020.
The challenge that airports face
Many airport costs, such as maintenance and security, are fixed, even when there is no revenue, and Gittens noted, for example, that airports still have to maintain the runways.
“The challenge really is to survive,” she said when talking about what the world’s airports are facing.
For this reason, airports are actively seeking exemptions from governments, in the form of tax exemptions and others.
Dealing with the ‘passenger inconvenience factor’
If the virus is contained to some extent, the mitigation measures needed will differ from whether the virus is still spreading widely.
Gittens said that a “passenger disturbance factor” is in place to provide protection, but stressed: “We do not want to keep disturbance when it is not needed.”
The waiting line will reach outside the door in the event that social distancing continues when more flights begin.
Therefore, airports will continue to consult with health officials, and as testing becomes more prevalent, test results may help ease other precautions, Gittens said.
ACI is working with governments to try to achieve a more flexible travel experience, through more facial and iris recognition technologies, fewer touch screens and document sharing.
The following are the busiest airports in 2019, in terms of the number of passengers, and how much their movement decreased at the beginning of 2020:
The 10 busiest airports in the world by number of passengers in 2019
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – 110.5 million passengers
- Beijing Capital International Airport – 100 million
- Los Angeles International Airport – 88.1 million
- Dubai International Airport – 86.4 million
- Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) – 85.5 million
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport – 84.6 million
- London Heathrow – 80.9 million
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport – 76.2 million
- Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport – 76.2 million
- Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport – 75.1 million
Pandemic impact: reduced mobility in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 18.2%
- Beijing Capital International Airport, 62.6%
- Los Angeles International Airport, 21.7%
- Dubai International Airport, 19.9%
- Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) 28.5%
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport, unavailable
- London Heathrow Airport, 18.3%
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport, 57.1%
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, 20.6%
- Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, 12.3% – CNN in Arabic
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