The Airports Council International (ACI) has launched of two authoritative and globally-significant reference publications - ACI Airport Economics Report and the Airport Key Performance Indicators.
The publications revealed that the continued recovery in manufacturing and global trade, alongside a rise in business confidence, has fostered confidence, investment and growth in airports across the world. The financial analysis is based on a comprehensive sample of 919 airports, representing 78 per cent of worldwide passenger traffic. All regions and airport sizes are accounted for, providing a truly representative picture of the industry.
Airport traffic at a world level has grown consistently over the last three years - passenger traffic posted growth of 6.6 per cent in 2017. Furthermore, passenger traffic continues to post consistent annual growth rates above historical averages. To continue to accommodate this demand and serve their communities, airports must have a long-term perspective on their business and ensure capacity improvements. This is a challenge because, in this dynamic competitive environment, airports are forced in the short term to set competitive charges, offer incentives and rebates, and invest in quality enhancements.
Increased competition continues to shape the industry and its capacity to generate revenues. The report has found aeronautical revenue generated from airport charges per passenger in real terms has remained stable – in the region of US$10 per passenger. Using aeronautical revenues as a proxy for airport charges, charges are increasing globally only at the same pace as global demand. This is clear demonstration that the calls for tighter and rigid economic regulation for airport charges are unfounded.
The report also found that that future growth in air transport demand will come from emerging and developing economies, predominantly from the Asia-Pacific region. In 2016, airports located in emerging and developing economies carried 45 per cent of global passenger traffic across the world’s airports. By 2040, this share is expected to increase to 62 per cent.
By that time, passenger throughput at airports in emerging and developing economies will have 1.6 times the passenger traffic of airports in advanced economies. The airport cost structure continues to be characterized by predominantly high fixed costs necessary for maintaining and operating infrastructure.
Airports are asset-intensive businesses that require many years to recover the significant capital investments in runways and terminals. The scale of current and forecast demand at airports clearly indicates a need for increasing levels of investment to maintain and enhance capacity at an appropriate level of service quality. Airport charges and non-aeronautical revenues are major sources of funds for investment.
Airports should be permitted to retain and invest these revenues to finance future investments or to pay to shareholders based on the finances of the airport. Our report reveals that the structure of airport revenues has remained stable over the last six years. Airports are strongly encouraged to develop non-aeronautical activities and maximize non-aeronautical revenues where they can. Airports are essential to the economic development of cities, countries, and regions. ACI remains committed to help the airport industry keep pace with traffic growth.