ACI forecasts global passenger traffic to reach 92% of 2019 levels this year

Airports Council International (ACI) World latest quarterly airport traffic outlook (released on Feb. 22, 2023 shows an upsurge in air travel demand across many markets amidst heightened macro-economic risks.

The quarterly update is released in tandem with the annual ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts, revealing expected air traffic to 2041.

2022 and short-term outlook

One of the most important highlights of the industry outlook for 2023 is that ACI is forecasting global passenger traffic will reach 92% (equal to 8.4 billion passengers) of 2019 levels in 2023. Despite macroeconomic head-winds, says the organization, traveler sentiment remains strong, and the re-opening of China will support the ongoing recovery

For now, global passenger traffic finished 2022 at 72% of 2019 levels – international passenger numbers reached 60% of 2019 levels and domestic traffic was at 79% in 2022.

The recovery in passenger vol-umes in 2022 remained uneven across the globe –Latin American-Caribbean markets reached 91% of 2019 levels whereas the Asia-Pacific region lagged at 52%

The baseline projections for global passenger traffic indicate that industry passenger traffic will recover to 2019 levels by 2024.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “The surge in air travel following the lifting of restrictions in 2022 continues into 2023. We know from our Global Traveler Survey covering 4,125 respondents across 30 countries, that 86% of respondents plan to travel by air in 2023—this is the highest intention to travel score since the beginning of the pandemic.

“However, we are cognizant that the speed of the recovery depends on several factors. On the one hand, the possible slowing in GDP growth in major economies coupled with the rise in airfares due to higher jet fuel prices weigh negatively on demand. On the other hand, a strong labor market and the re-opening of China, the second largest aviation market after the United States, represents an important boost to global passenger traffic.”

ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2022–2041

Looking ahead, the ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2022–2041 reveals:

Passenger traffic worldwide is expected to reach 19.3 billion in 2041.

In 2041, airports are predicted to handle almost 200 million tons of air cargo worldwide. The United States and China will remain the two largest markets, together accounting for 40% of global cargo.

Airports worldwide will see 153.8 million aircraft movements by 2041. The United States, China, and India are predicted to be the leading markets for aircraft movements in 2041, respectively, hosting 23%, 16%, and 4% of global aircraft movements.