Airports across the globe have seen their passenger and cargo traffic dry up dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, highlights Airports Council International (ACI) in its new report. In Mexico, traffic remains low in comparison to 2019 but between July and September it showed a small uptick in comparison to the three previous months.
Back in mid-2020, global associations decried that the COVID-19 outbreak had led the aviation industry to its lowest point in history. Its full effects still remain to be seen but a recent report from ACI paints a bleak picture of the sector. Up until 2019, the aviation industry had been growing steadily. That year airports saw a total of 9.1 billion passengers, greatly surpassing the global population at the time of 7.7 billion. This scenario would change dramatically during the first three months of 2020 as COVID-19 rapidly spread and countries quickly closed their borders to try to avoid or control outbreaks. By the first half of 2020, worldwide passenger traffic had plunged by 58.4 percent year-on-year, cargo had fallen by 12.4 percent and total aircraft movements shrank by 41.6 percent, according to ACI. The report shows that the heaviest hits were felt in international flights, as international passenger traffic plunged by 64.5 percent and cargo by 13.9 percent in freight volumes.
Figures for the Latin America and Caribbean region show that during the first half of 2020, passenger traffic fell by 51.9 percent, while cargo shrank by 22.1 percent. Mexican aviation groups also saw sharp drops in traffic during the harshest months of the outbreak. For example, Grupo Aeroportuario de Sureste (ASUR), which operates nine airports in Mexico and several more in Puerto Rico and Colombia, reported its traffic in Mexico fell by 94.2 percent during the 2Q20. Passenger traffic has gradually recovered from that low point. ASUR reported a 54.8 percent year-on-year contraction in passenger traffic during July, 55.8 percent during August and 48.7 percent in September. Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte (OMA), which operates 13 airports, reports a similar situation with traffic seeing a 90.2 percent year-on-year contraction during 2Q20 only to rise gradually during the following months. OMA’s figures point to a 54.5 percent year-on-year decrease during July, 55.4 percent during August and 54.9 percent in September. Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), which also operates 13 airports in Mexico, also closed September 2020 with a similar contraction in passenger traffic of 48.9 percent.