48% of airports have not seen revenues recover to pre-pandemic levels

A new report from AeroCloud has revealed that despite passenger demand rising to near pre-pandemic levels, 52 per cent of airport leaders are still worried about their financial stability.

New research, produced from a survey of 200 airport leaders, has revealed that 48 per cent of airports still haven’t seen their revenues recover since the stagnation on brought by the coronavirus pandemic. AeroCloud also found that 37 per cent admitted they are still in debt.

Meanwhile, 92 per cent of respondents said their joint top-rated commercial priorities were increasing growth margins and optimising and increasing capacity for take-off and landing slots.

But the report outlines that airports still face a number of hurdles post-pandemic that are stunting growth. 62 per cent of airport leaders said they worry passenger numbers won’t recover to pre-Covid levels, with 70 per cent predicting the cost-of-living crisis will impact spending with concession partners.

62 per cent of airports also said that not being able to hire enough staff to meet rising flight and passenger volumes brings risk to operations over the next 12 months.

George Richardson, CEO and co-founder of AeroCloud, said: “The overall outlook for the aviation industry is strong after what has been a difficult few years.

“But not all airports are benefiting from this bounce back yet. Many are still struggling with the impact of staffing issues and flight disruption on their operations, as well as their ability to boost their revenue.

“While every airport has its unique challenges and opportunities, our research found airport leaders have common strategies in how they plan to boost their growth in the year ahead.”

Respondents believe opportunities for growth lie in attracting new airlines, boosting the passenger experience, increasing passenger spending and transforming airport operations.

92 per cent said they hope to increase the number of flights by attracting new airlines, whilst they also recognised the importance of increasing passenger footfall. Meanwhile, 86 per cent said they want to increase spending in concessions and Duty Free.

The report also found that upgrading legacy technologies and systems is a commercial priority for 92 per cent of airport leaders, enabling them to improve operational efficiency.

Richardson added: “40 per cent of airport leaders told us they are still using Excel and Word documents to store and manage operational information, such as for gate management and the RONs [Remain Overnights]. The reliance on manual processes and legacy systems presents massive hurdles to their revenue growth.”

It comes as technology developers aim to push for greater digitalisation across the aviation sector. The case for the potential of AI is also one area that seems to be gaining traction.

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