For international air traffic to reach the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 will take more than two years, it was revealed by the top officials of the Airports Council International in Muscat on Saturday.
On the sidelines of the ACI World Governing Board, Aimen al Hosni, CEO, Oman Airports, told the Observer: “The predictions are that the air traffic will return 60 to 60 percent of the pre-pandemic levels this year, 70 to 80 per cent by 2023 and full 100 per cent by mid-2024-25.”
In the short term, the air traffic is expected to slow down during Ramadhan but is expected to pick up in the coming months. “Countries with a huge domestic network are likely to perform in terms of air travel compared to those that solely depend on the international and transfer passengers.”
Much of the recovery will also depend on oil prices which are expected to lead to inflationary trends in the coming days, said Stefano Baronci, ACI Director-General for the Asia Pacific.
Al Hosni welcomed the scrapping of the air bubble agreement by India, which all international flights to operate without restrictions.
The ACI World Governing Board in Muscat will see the participation of 27 CEOs representing the ACI World Governing Board.
The meetings, which will be chaired by Al Hosni, will discuss ways to enhance efficiency in the airports and aviation sector, develop environmental and economically sustainable projects, and address other challenges that directly affect the airports and civil aviation sector worldwide.
Luis Felipe, Director-General of ACI World, said, “There will be new challenges, not least how we work together to address climate change, but we are stronger together, and we have to be bold. By opening markets, and by encouraging and supporting the entire aviation ecosystem, we are able to create new jobs and new opportunities for the entire community.”
As of January 2022, ACI serves 717 members, operating 1950 airports in 185 countries. In 2020, close to 55 percent of all employment in the aviation sector was at airports and, according to ACI’s Annual World Airport Traffic Report, airports worldwide welcomed 3.6 billion arriving and departing passengers, handled 108.5 million metric tonnes of cargo, and 61.8 million aircraft movements in 2020.
The global air transport industry has adopted a long-term climate goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.