Latest air travel outlook reveals 2024 to be a milestone for global passenger traffic

Airports Council International (ACI) World has today published its latest quarterly air travel outlook revealing global passenger traffic expected to recover in early 2024 as it reaches 9.4 billion passengers.

Highlights from ACI World’s 14th Advisory Bulletin on the impact of COVID-19 on the airport business—and the path to recovery include:

  • Global passenger volume in 2023 is expected to reach 8.6 billion passengers, which is 94.2% of the 2019 level.
  • The year 2024 is expected to be a milestone for global passenger traffic recovery as it reaches 9.4 billion passengers, surpassing the year 2019 that welcomed 9.2 billion passengers (102.5% of the 2019 level).
  • The gap between the Business as Usual (BAU) forecast from 2019 and the current recovery projections reveal that the percentage of lost traffic continues to decrease on a quarterly basis, from -23% in Q1 2023 to -13% in Q4 2024.
  • The Latin America-Caribbean region is forecasted to be the first region to surpass its 2019 level. In 2023, the region is estimated to reach 707 million passengers, or 102.9% of the 2019 level.
  • While the Asia-Pacific region is expected to have a substantial jump in passenger traffic in the first half of 2023 along with the ongoing opening of the Chinese market, its recovery is predicted to slow down significantly in the second half of the year due to challenges in overseas tourism and looming economic concerns. The region is expected to reach approximately 3.4 billion passengers in 2024, or 99.5% of the 2019 level.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “ACI World projects that global air travel will nearly return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, with all regions expected to reach this milestone by 2024. Upside factors include the reopening of the Chinese market and surge in domestic travel, supply chain disruptions gradually subsiding, and inflation slowing down.  While downside risks remain present, we continue to witness the dedicated efforts and commitment of ACI airport members and partners, and we are filled with optimism about the industry’s future. Aviation is a key driver of growth, jobs, and prosperity, providing employment, social benefits, and economic development to communities worldwide. This sector remains a steadfast force in global economic recovery, bridging connections among people, cultures, and economies.”

ACI World’s 2023 Annual World Airport Traffic Report

In addition to the Advisory Bulletin, ACI World has released the 2023 Annual World Airport Traffic Report, the most authoritative source and industry reference for airport traffic data, rankings, and trends. 

The flagship resource is based on data gathered from an extensive network of over 2,600 airports spanning more than 180 countries and territories worldwide. Curated by leading industry economists, the Report provides a comprehensive analysis of global airport traffic trends, including rankings and evaluations of passenger, cargo, and aircraft traffic data for the operating year 2022 and first half of 2023.

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, is a federated organization comprising ACI World, ACI Africa, ACI Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, ACI EUROPE, ACI Latin America and the Caribbean and ACI North America. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2023, ACI serves 712 members, operating 1925 airports in 171 countries.