Guangzhou was busiest airport for passenger traffic in 2020
Guangzhou was busiest airport for passenger traffic in 2020
Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz
22nd April 2021
LONDON - International Airports Council International (ACI) World today published its preliminary world airport traffic rankings for 2020, with Guangzhou Bai Yun International the world’s busiest for total passenger volumes at 43.8 million. Seven of the top ten airports for passenger traffic were in China with three in the USA.

Dubai International (DXB) led the international traffic rankings with 25.8 million passengers, followed by Amsterdam and London Heathrow.

Guangzhou tops the passenger traffic rankings in 2020, as China domestic travel recovery influences the makeup of the top ten

Global passenger traffic at the world’s top ten busiest airports decreased by -45.7% in 2020. Overall, passenger traffic at the world’s airports decreased by -64.6% which ACI said shows that the impact of the pandemic and the early stages of recovery in air travel has not been uniform around the world.

ACI noted that domestic air travel is beginning a modest rebound while international air travel remains depressed because of travel restrictions. Driven by China domestic travel, Hongqiao International Airport moved from 46th position in 2019 to ninth in 2020.

“The impact of the COVID-19 on global passenger traffic pandemic brought aviation to a virtual standstill in 2020 and we continue to face an existential threat,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“The data published today reveals the challenge airports continue to face and it remains imperative that the industry is supported through direct support and sensible policy decisions from governments to ensure that aviation can endure, rebuild connectivity, and fuel a global economic recovery.

“The findings show that the impact remains uneven with different regions experiencing different challenges and requiring different policy decisions and support from governments to lay the foundation for recovery. With some positive signs of recovery, especially in countries with high rates of vaccination, a sustained global recovery will only be realised with an escalation of vaccination campaigns, the continued development of digital health passes, and coordinated and cohesive policy support from governments.”

For airports, revenues are tightly correlated to traffic levels but, like other capital-intensive businesses, a large proportion of airport costs remain largely fixed and do not fall at the same level as traffic throughput and revenues during the crisis, said ACI. Even with reduced operations, the closure of terminals and staff layoffs, this imbalance remains, it added.

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