Governments can take five steps to safeguard airports’ interests: ACI

Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific is adjuring governments in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East regions to take swift action to safeguard airports’ interests.

The association suggested five specific measures, which includes suspending airport slots usage requirements till end-June — with a potential for extention into 2H2020 depending on market conditions.

ACI Asia-Pacific urges governments to take steps to lift burden off its airport members

This will allow airlines to allocate and move resources according to the fall in passenger traffic, and ensure better protection of connecting traffic at hub airports, said ACI.

Meanwhile, the remaining four measures will directly alleviate the financial burden for airports.

Among them are the provision of tax relief — including waiving passenger departing taxes — and the deferring or suspending airport operators’ concession fees to governments.

Governments are also urged to provide financial assistance and to protect airport revenues from global waiver of airport charges or blanket discounts and to offer to bear the consequences of pegging charges at a higher amount.

ACI urged governments to take these steps amid an “extremely challenging” environment for its airport members, with data showing an 80 per cent decrease in traffic across Asia-Pacific member airports year-on-year in the second week of March.

“(Member airports) have already burnt through about 10 per cent of total yearly revenues in just three months,” said Stefano Baronci, director-general, ACI Asia-Pacific. “Relief measures are needed … to save jobs and allow economic recovery,” urged Baronci.

According to ACI’s revised forecasts, losses in 1Q2020 among airports in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are expected to come in at approximately US$5.6 billion and US$1 billion respectively. Losses in the Middle East across 2020 are approximated at more than US$2 billion.

Smaller airports serving less than one million passengers a year cannot be neglected, as their survival ensures “the long-term social and economic benefits of (air) connectivity”, noted ACI.

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