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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.

New venture opens up China to BA passengers

British Airways has signed a joint business agreement with China Southern Airlines, for travel from 2 January 2020.

The agreement will benefit customers of both airlines by opening more destinations between the UK and China, with a greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. It will allow the airlines to cooperate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible flight options and an attractive range of fares.

British Airways customers will be able to travel more easily on a combined route network which will develop over time thanks to both airlines’ move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. The joint business will initially see the two airlines code-sharing on all direct flights operated on mainland routes between London and six Chinese cities. This will expand to both airlines’ extensive domestic networks.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits. The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is an excellent opportunity for businesses travelling to the Chinese capital or to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Because this arrangement between British Airways and China Southern will mean 31 direct flights a week between London and these six Chinese locations.

This deal builds on British Airways’ move to Beijing Daxing Airport – for more about this, see our news story here.

Customer benefits will include greater opportunities to collect frequent flyer points, the ability to book through both airlines’ web or app-based platforms, enhanced lounge access and access to high-quality Chinese and British products and services on board and on the ground.

If you’re looking to fly to any of these six locations in China, contact your GTM Account Manager to find and book the best fares.

Business travel to China and South East Asia

At Global Travel Management we are experts in all types of business travel to all parts of the world.  But one area we are finding a lot more demand for is South East Asia.  So, whether you’re making your first business trip to Shanghai or Beijing or you’re a regular traveller to Hong Kong or Singapore, we have the partnerships, relationships and experience to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.  And we can advise on everything from flight planning to hotels, from visas to passports and from lounge passes to frequent flyer rewards.

  • Flights 

It’s easy to find a flight at a good price from the UK to China or elsewhere in the region.  But finding a flight is very different from finding the right flight.  Our team works hard to ensure your itinerary works for you.  So we search every airline and every route while securing the best price in the right class of travel for your flight.  And many times we will find a route you may not have considered.

Want to save money?  We will search the lowest price on the right flight for you.  Want to save time? Let us build you the best itinerary.  Want to make sure you maximise your frequent flyer rewards on the trip?  Leave it to us.

So, if you simply need to fly from London to Beijing, don’t be surprised if we find you an exceptional fare, via the “short route”.  We might find you a great fare in a better class than you had planned for.  And we will “go the extra mile” to make sure your frequent flyer membership gets topped up with every leg of the journey.

Check out our Facebook page for some of the best news from airlines flying from Europe to China.

  • Passports and Visas

Leave us with the hassle of your visas and passports.  We keep your records so we can remind you when you need a visa for an up-coming trip to China or when your passport is due for renewal.  And we partner with suppliers that make the process as easy as possible for you.

  • Hotels 

Do you have a preferred hotel brand?  Let us know and we will book it for you.  Need advice on hotels in a city you’ve never stayed in before?  We can help.  Whatever you need from your hotel, let us know.  You’ll set off knowing your hotel booking’s been taken care of and you can spend your time preparing for meetings, not trying to find somewhere to stay.

  • Anything else? 

Do you need car hire? A train booking?  Ferries?  Let us know – we can get straight onto it.

At Global Travel Management, we have been at the forefront of business travel, worldwide, for more than two decades.  And, as more businesses are needing to travel to China and South East Asia, we are very proud of our ability to provide an excellent service for travel to the region.

If your business needs to make trips to China and South East Asia, give me a call on 01483 227 369.  I will be happy to explain how Global Travel Management will help save you money on your trips and provide a reliable, first-class service to manage all of your business travel. 

Paul Baker 

Amazing Finnair Prices to Asia!

Book air fares to China & Japan from just £62!

For a limited period only Finnair are selling flights from London & Manchester to various destinations in China & Japan, however, the selling period ends on 12th November 2012. The headline fare of £62 applies to Chongqing in China. The highest fare to any of the following destinations is only £123 (prices exclude airport taxes and fuel surcharge) : Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Osaka & Nagoya.

Whilst the sales period ends on 12 November, travel can take place right through to 31st March 2013.

NB. Finnair flights connect via Helsinki, which is widely regarded as an efficent airport to transfer in, with minimal time spent on the ground.