Investment in airport infrastructure to begin recovery in 2022

By Andy Brown11 March 2022

Annual spending on airport projects in 2022 is estimated to rise by almost 12% from 2021. Picture AdobeStock.

The air transport industry has been among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and one of the slowest to recover, but the sector should begin to see recovery in 2022, according to a report from GlobalData.

Annual spending on airport projects in 2022 is estimated to rise by almost 12% from 2021. However, the lack of new project announcements means that the value of the pipeline could drop once current projects in execution are completed.

Global passenger traffic in 2021 is estimated at around 4.6 billion – approximately half of what it was in 2019.

As a result of short-term disruptions due to Covid-19, there has been a severe slowdown in new investment for airport developments. This is reflected by the global project pipeline, of which 74% of project value is in the later stages of development. In North America and North-East Asia, this proportion is significantly higher at 84% and 92% respectively.

“The uncertainty from Covid-19 made it impossible for airport operators to predict future passenger traffic trends,” said Joel Hanna, economist at GlobalData. 

“Development plans made before the pandemic became obsolete and governments have generally held off from announcing any new major developments. However, some degree of certainty is expected to return in 2022 as Covid travel restrictions ease for vaccinated passengers and international travel begins to recover.”

Currently, domestic travel has rebounded faster than international travel, with passenger traffic expected to reach 78% of 2019 levels in 2022. As a result, investment into airport infrastructure is more likely to initially pick up in countries with large domestic air travel markets, such as the US and China.

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