The COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to wipe out 38.1% of global passenger traffic and almost half of revenues for airports in 2020, according to economic analysis by Airports Council International (ACI).
Total global passenger traffic predicted to be lost amounts to some 3.6 billion travelers.
While the industry was expected to generate $172bn in revenue, it is now forecast that it could lose 45% of this, amounting to $76bn, by the end of the year.
ACI World director general Angela Gittens said that, although the global airport industry has already faced multi-billion dollar losses in the first quarter of 2020, it is now expected that the impact of COVID-19 will extend not only to the second quarter of 2020, but also the second half of the year.
She continued that most experts in the industry expect that recovery could take a year to 18 months to reach pre-crisis traffic levels, and that the industry may not record pre-COVID-19 traffic volumes again before the end of 2021.
Gittens added: “A drastic decline of such magnitude for the global airport industry represents an existential threat.”
However, ACI says in regard to prospects for recovery that it is reasonable to predict faster recovery in domestic passenger traffic. International passenger traffic, on the other hand, will take longer as countries will emerge from the current crisis at different times and with varying degrees of relaxing of restrictions.