Around 300 new airports coming up globally, 57% in Asia-Pacific


The Asia-Pacific region continues to be a geography with significant potential for aviation as 57% of the 300 planned airports globally are coming up in this part of the world, as per a latest assessment by the Airports Council International.

As per the ACI Asia-Pacific’s Airport Industry Outlook, there are plans for almost 300 new greenfield airports globally, of which South Asia accounts for 18% and Southeast Asia 17%.

The greenfield airports are also expected to play a key role in the global vision of net zero emissions by 2050. The report also stated that a greenfield airport development had an 8% premium to achieve net zero, compared with a 14-19% premium for brownfield developments.

“Financing and recovering the cost of such ambitious plans (sustainable infrastructure) will be an absolute need and will require strategic thinking, commercial wisdom and legal certainty. Historical data shows that airports that achieved carbon neutrality status, invested an average of 12% more capital,“ Stefano Baronci, Director General, ACI Asia-Pacific said.

Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions are expected to account for 58% of the global air passenger demand and is expected to increase at an average rate of 4.5% per annum as compared to 2.8% for other regions. The global air passenger demand is likely to grow over two-fold over the next 20 years, from 9.2 billion passengers in 2019 to about 19 billion in 2040, the report further said.

This will need an investment totalling $1.3 trillion for Asia-Pacific airports until 2040 to accommodate this growth.

“Failure to invest in airport capacity comes at a significant cost. For each 1 million annual passengers foregone due to lack of airport capacity in 2040, an average of 10,500 jobs are lost and annual GDP is $346 million lower,” the report said.

Globally, the post-COVID traffic recovery continues to benefit from pent-up demand, but the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, high fuel prices, rising inflationary pressures, lower economic growth expectations, and the looming recession are casting a shadow on the overall recovery of the industry.

“Restoring international connectivity will take longer and will be partly dependent on the decision of China to re-connect to the World,” Baronci said.

By September, the latest countries to ease COVID restrictions were Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Chinese Taipei. The continued quarantine requirements, however, in some countries have slowed down the overall recovery in the region.

For 2022, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness 1.84 billion passengers, a decline of 45% compared to 2019 and comparable with traffic levels seen in 2012 at 1.84 billion passengers.

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