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Uneven effect of Covid-19 shakes up the lists of busiest airports

Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its preliminary world airport traffic rankings – covering passenger traffic and aircraft movements for 2020 – showing the dramatic impact of Covid-19 on what are ordinarily the world’s busiest airports.

Global passenger traffic at the world’s top 10 busiest airports decreased by 45.7% in 2020. Overall, passenger traffic at the world’s airports decreased by 64.6% which shows that the impact of the pandemic and the early stages of recovery in air travel has not been uniform around the world.

According to the preliminary data, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport in China recorded the most passenger traffic in 2020, with Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the United States just behind.

Seven of the top 10 airports for passenger traffic are in China with three in the United States. In most cases, domestic air travel is beginning a modest rebound while international air travel remained depressed because of travel restrictions.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of ACI World said,

The impact of the COVID-19 on global passenger traffic pandemic brought aviation to a virtual standstill in 2020 and we continue to face threat. The data reveals the challenge airports continue to face and it remains imperative that the industry is supported through direct support and sensible policy decisions from governments to ensure that aviation can endure, rebuild connectivity, and fuel a global economic recovery.

The findings show that the impact remains uneven with different regions experiencing different challenges and requiring different policy decisions and support from governments to lay the foundation for recovery.

With some positive signs of recovery, especially in countries with high rates of vaccination, a sustained global recovery will only be realized with an escalation of vaccination campaigns, the continued development of digital health passes, and coordinated and cohesive policy support from governments.

Air cargo was less impacted by COVID 19, with volumes decreasing by only 8.9%, to an estimated 109 million metric tonnes in 2020, equivalent to 2016 levels (110 million metric tonnes).

For airports, revenues are tightly correlated to traffic levels but, like many other capital-intensive businesses, a large proportion of airport costs remain fixed and do not fall at the same level as traffic throughput and revenues during the crisis. Even with reduced operations, the closure of terminals and staff layoffs, this imbalance remains.

Airports in China occupied seven of the top ten positions in 2020. Atlanta slipped to second position, having seen a reduction in passenger traffic of 61.2%. Chengdu and Shenzen both moved up 21 places, Kunming 29, Xi’an 30 while Shanghai moved up 37 places.
Dubai retained its position as the world’s busiest international airport in 2020. Amsterdam and Heathrow swapped places. Istanbul and Doha both moved up eight positions in the table.
Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

A global study commissioned by InterContinenal Hotels Group has revealed that a lack of sleep is a primary concern for travellers, with four in five stating they have trouble sleeping when travelling away from home.

The launch of the findings coincided with World Sleep Day, an annual day devoted to tackling important sleep issues.

The findings from the survey revealed:

  • The business traveller loses around 58 minutes of sleep each night when staying away from home, averaging just five hours and 17 minutes of sleep, per night.
  • The biggest causes of a restless night’s sleep for those travelling are:
    • Different environment (44%)
    • Unfamiliar noises (35%)
    • Working late (35%)

Dr. Steven W. Lockley, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School commented:

It’s no secret that travelling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns. Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when travelling.

Over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed stated they feel more tired when they are away from home. To aid sleep, nearly a half either try listening to music (47%) or watching TV (45%) to try and fall asleep. To help travellers combat a restless night away from home, IHG has piloted the use of portable and versatile JOURNI Mobile Task Light designed to help regulate sleep when travelling.

Dr. Lockley continues:

Light can also be a stimulant, directly alerting the brain, or promote sleep before bedtime, depending on the spectrum and intensity of light exposure. Having greater control of light exposure when travelling can help promote sleep at the right time or wake at the right time, preserving some sense of sleep normalcy when on the road.

Brian McGuiness, IHG’s Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience, commented:

With so many travellers experiencing sleep disruptions when they’re on the road, we want to do everything possible to make sure our guests at any one of our 16 IHG Hotels & Resorts brands have a restful sleep while staying with us.

We’re excited to be the first hotel company to pilot this technology that uses LED lighting to improve guest sleep, and it’s just one of the many programs we’ve introduced over the years to improve guest experience, such as our Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage programme with premium bedding and aromatherapy kits and our Holiday Inn pillow menu.

Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG Hotels & Resorts property to install the JOURNI Mobile Task Light as part of this pilot project. Guests can easily adjust the light from the blue-enriched white spectrum to boost energy and performance when awake, to the blue-depleted spectrum for use in the evening in preparation for bedtime, to promote a more restful night’s sleep.

Contact your GTM Account Manager when you need to book hotel nights at any IHG hotel property, including the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport. 

Delta proposes flights between Haneda and 5 new US cities

Delta Air Lines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch daily daytime services between Tokyo-Haneda airport and Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta and Portland, as well as a twice-daily service between Haneda and Honolulu.

Delta’s proposed routes would be the only direct service offered by U.S. carriers between Haneda, Tokyo’s preferred airport for business travellers and the closest to the city centre, and the communities of Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Detroit.

Together with the carrier’s existing service to Haneda from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles, these new routes would bring Delta’s proven operational reliability and exceptional service to more customers travelling between a broad network of U.S. cities and Tokyo’s preferred airport.

Additionally, Delta’s proposal provides a competitive alternative for consumers to the service offered by other U.S. carriers and their Japanese joint venture partners, ANA and JAL.

Delta’s existing service to Haneda from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles has already delivered substantial consumer benefits, including transporting over 800,000 passengers since the inauguration of daytime flights. The airline claims its proposal for additional service would:

  • Provide more attractive flight times for customers arriving and departing Haneda while enhancing connecting opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Northeast;
  • Facilitate the development of trade and tourism between five of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and Tokyo;
  • Serve a geographically diverse set of markets and communities through the comprehensive route networks offered at each of Delta’s hub gateways;
  • Provide additional capacity and greater convenience for the large business communities in all of these proposed gateways.

Delta has served the U.S. to Japan market for over 70 years, and currently offers seven daily departures from Tokyo with connections to over 150 destinations across the U.S and Latin America. The airline will launch a new service in April between Seattle and Osaka in partnership with Korean Air. Additionally, last year, Delta began partnering with Michelin consulting chef Norio Ueno to create meals for all cabins of service for flights to and from Japan.

Pending government approvals, the new routes would launch with the summer 2020 flying schedule.