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ACI World today published its ACI Airport Economics Report for the calendar year 2017, which reveals a strong industry performance underpinned by continued growth in global trade and air service demand.

The report was launched ahead of next week’s ACI Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Hong Kong, where aviation leaders will come together to discuss many of its themes and findings.


Over the course of the year, passenger traffic remained strong at airports in both advanced and emerging economies – despite downside risks to the global economy – posting annual growth rates above historical averages.

This performance was bolstered by the continued recovery in manufacturing and global trade, alongside a rise in business confidence, fostering confidence, investment, and growth in airports across the world.

“Steady growth since 2010 is testament to the resilience of our industry and shows that airports continue to serve as growth engines and critical contributors to global trade,” says ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens.

“Passenger traffic remains on an upward trajectory across the globe and airports are responding to demand in both advanced and emerging economies.

“At the same time, airport operators face capacity constraints and, with our global medium-term forecast showing almost 30% growth in passenger numbers from 2017 to 2022, many national governments face the predicament of surging air transport demand outstripping available airport infrastructure.

“If we are to continue to keep pace with this demand airports must be able to invest, improve and grow.

“Charges for services rendered to airport users and non-aeronautical revenues are the major sources of funds for airports to invest in infrastructure and service improvements and efforts to irrationally restrict or regulate these things should be avoided.


“Generating a positive economic return depends on sound, strategic planning with appropriate financing mechanisms. There is no one-size fits all approach and airports must take a long-term perspective to their business and ensure capacity improvements.”

The report presents global analyses of airport activity for the financial year 2017 based on reports from more than 900 airports representing 78% of worldwide passenger traffic. Several key facts and trends have emerged:

• Global airport revenues grew 6.2% to reach $172.2 billion and oassenger traffic by 7.5%

• 55% of every aeronautical dollar was generated from passenger-related charges

• The total cost per passenger for airports ($13.69) exceeded global aeronautical revenues per passenger ($9.95) illustrating the importance of non-aero revenues 

• Industry return on invested capital stood at 7.4%

• 80% of airports in the world have fewer than a million passengers per annum and 94% of these airports are loss-making.

Retail concessions remain the largest source of non-aeronautical revenue for airports at 30.2%.

Car parking revenue and property revenue/rent are the second and third largest sources of non-aeronautical revenues at 20.1% and 15.0% respectively.

In 2017, airports located in emerging and developing economies represented 46% of global passenger traffic across the world’s airports.

Emerging markets and developing economies are predicted to surpass advanced economies after 2022 and account for 60% of the market by 2040.


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