The world’s busiest airports and how much they have fallen during the pandemic.

The final figures for air passenger traffic in 2019 at the world’s busiest airports are now available, reported CNN.

Unfortunately, the destruction of global air travel by the coronavirus pandemic means that traffic levels are unlikely to rise to those numbers again until 2024, according to the Airports Council International (ACI), the airport trade association that compiles the data.

See also: New Berlin airport will open on October 31st after nine years of delay.

The 2019 list of the world’s busiest airports, released by ACI on Thursday, showed a 3.5% increase in the number of passengers, which reached more than 9.1 billion, compared to 2018.

For the first time, the report looks ahead, with information on the dramatic decreases that occurred in the first half of 2020 when covid-19 outbreaks decimated passenger traffic.

See also: The ‘best airport in the world’ warns of a long crisis by the coronavirus.

The number of passengers decreased by 58.4% worldwide in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. International passenger traffic was the most affected, with a drop of 64.5%.

Atlanta and Beijing airports ranked first and second in 2019, with more than 110 million and 100 million passengers respectively. But those airports experienced falls in passenger traffic of 56.6% and 73.6% in the first half of 2020.

Los Angeles International Airport climbed one spot in 2019. It became the third busiest airport, with more than 88 million passengers in 2019. Passenger traffic decreased by 58.9% in the first half of 2020.

The road to recovery

The airport industry anticipates a 60% reduction in revenue compared to previous projections, according to ACI.

The organization and its industry partners see the reduction of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, as well as a comprehensive approach to virus testing, as key to recovery.

“We are optimistic about the future, but we need consistency and collaboration around the world on key issues such as testing,” ACI global chief executive officer Luis Felipe de Oliveira said in a statement.

“The industry is united in its view that widespread testing of passengers prior to travel, as an alternative to quarantine restrictions, will be a crucial way to build public confidence in air travel and should be incorporated.

ACI aligns with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in its call for efficient standardized testing. Ultimately, however, countries would be responsible for developing a coordinated approach.

Testing as a security measure that would increase traveler confidence is just one of the measures needed, not only for aviation recovery, but for all industries that are interconnected, says Patrick Lucas, director of airport business analysis at ACI.

“When airports and airlines ask for these things, it’s not just for our industry itself, it’s because we’re so connected to other industries. We are very connected, of course, with the tourism and hospitality industries.

About 60% of tourists arrive by air, Lucas said, “so everything that’s connected to the tourists, the restaurants and so on, all those businesses are connected.

Air travel has begun to increase since the darkest days of April, when traffic dropped by more than 90 percent. But a full recovery is likely to be several years away.

The 10 busiest airports in the world:

1. Atlanta: 110.5 million passengers in 2019. Traffic fell by 56.6% in the first half of 2020.
2. Beijing: 100 million passengers in 2019. Traffic fell by 73.6% in the first half of 2020.
3. Los Angeles: 88.1 million passengers in 2019. Traffic fell 58.9% in the first half of 2020.
4. Dubai: 86.4 million passengers in 2019. Traffic decreased by 56.4% in the first half of 2020.
5. Tokyo: 85.5 million passengers in 2019. Traffic decreased by 59.2% in the first half of 2020.
6. Chicago: 84.6 million passengers in 2019. Traffic decreased by 57.6% in the first half of 2020.
7. London: 80.9 million passengers in 2019. Traffic decreased by 60.2% in the first half of 2020.
8. Shanghai: 76.2 million passengers in 2019. Traffic fell by 68.1% in the first half of 2020.
9. Paris: 76.2 million passengers in 2019. Traffic decreased by 61.4% in the first half of 2020.
10. Dallas / Fort Worth: 75.1 million passengers in 2019. Traffic fell by 48.2% in the first half of 2020.

By Marnie Hunter.

Photo: William Fisher/Wikimedia