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Top 10 busiest airports: Atlanta bumped as China dominates list

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Guangzhao, despite this empty pic, is now the world's busiest airport.

After 22 consecutive years as the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta slips to number 2 while China and the United States dominated the entire top 10 list of the 2020 world’s busiest airports. With the covid-19 pandemic stifling travel around the world all the airports on the list saw massive drops in passengers and rankings climbed and fell and leaps and bounds. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China jumped from number 11 last year all the way to number 1, with 43.8 million passengers, though it was a 40% drop from its previous total in 2019.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had 42.9 million passengers in 2020 down 61% from the previous year. It’s expected that once the pandemic ends and international travel starts to return to normal, Atlanta will retake the number one spot. Shanghai’s secondary airport, Hongqiao International Airport, jumped from number 46 in the previous year all the way up to number 9, the biggest climb in the top 10 busiest airports. Beijing Airport has often held the number 2 position and did so in 2019 but fell to number 6 on the 2020 list.

This year’s roster was made up entirely of Chinese and American cities. Chengdu, Shenzhen, Kunming, and Xi’an rounded out the list of Chinese cities while American hubs Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver placed at number 4 (up from 10th in 2019) and number 7 (up from 16th in 2019) respectively. In 2019 European airports London and Paris made the top 10 list but failed to place this year. Dubai and Tokyo were also bumped from the busiest airport list in 2020, replaced by Chinese cities.

Global traffic for air travel fell around the world by about 65%, and the 10 busiest airports experienced about a 46% decline from 2019 figures. Airport Council International World, a non-profit organization representing the world’s airports, said in a statement that the effect of Covid-19 is apparent worldwide though it hasn’t hampered every region to the same degree, but stresses that the airline industry will need continued support to survive the fallout from the pandemic.

“The data published today 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.”

ACI world stressed that a full recovery of the airline industry will depend not only on accelerated vaccinations worldwide but also global agreement on policy and some form of digital health passes from governments of every nation. They noted that the reason the United States and China dominated this year’s busiest airports list was entirely due to domestic travel which has rebounded a bit in many locations while international air travel is still very limited.

The United States is the world’s largest domestic travel market usually and China is the second biggest. After aggressively battling Covid-19 early at the start of the pandemic, travel within China saw minimal restrictions for most of 2020. Speculators believe that many Chinese travellers that were restricted from any international travel turn to holidays within China instead.

The entire top 10 list, including how many travellers passed through in 2020 and what per cent those numbers were down from 2019’s figures are below:

AIRPORT CODE COUNTRY 2020 TRAVELLERS % DOWN FROM 2019
1 Guangzhou CAN China 43.8 million 40%
2 Atlanta ATL USA 42.9 million 61%
3 Chengdu CTU China 40.7 million 27%
4 Dallas/Fort Worth DFW USA 39.4 million 48%
5 Shenzhen SZX China 37.9 million 28%
6 Beijing PEK China 34.5 million 66%
7 Denver DEN USA 33.7 million 51%
8 Kunming KMG China 33 million 31%
9 Shanghai* SHA China 31.2 million 32%
10 Xi’an XIY China 31.1 million 34%

* Worth noting that #9 is Hongqiao airport, while Shanghai Pudong (PVG) International Airport came in at number 14 with 30.4 million travellers (down 60%), meaning the city of Shanghai had a total of 61.4 million travellers.

SOURCE: CNN

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Peter Weller

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 8:06 am

    China must suger suffer suffer suffer

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Phuket

TAT looks forward to welcoming 129,000 foreign tourists to Phuket

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / jeiline

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says it expects 129,000 tourists to arrive on the southern island of Phuket in the first 3 months of its re-opening. Officials still insist the island will re-open for quarantine-free travel for vaccinated foreign tourists from July 1. And according to the Bangkok Post, the TAT also plans to team up with airlines to offer 100,000 subsidised one-way domestic air tickets.

The association is in talks with Thai Airways and Thai Smile Airways about offering a 1,000 – 2,000 baht subsidy towards domestic air fares for tourists participating in Phuket’s sandbox scheme. The scheme will also be expanded to include all local carriers.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn expects around 30,000 – 40,000 tourists a month, through Phuket’s sandbox model, with the primary target being long-haul markets. According to Yuthasak, 7-day packages in Phuket will be on offer for a somewhat eye-watering 150,000 – 200,000 baht per visitor, a significant increase on the 50,000 baht average spending per trip prior to the pandemic.

The Bangkok Post reports that most tourists will be required to arrive via a direct flight to Phuket. However, in the event of there being no available time slots at the airport, tourists will be permitted to transfer via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport using a dedicated sealed terminal.

Once the other 9 sandbox areas join the re-opening, Yuthasak expects between 3 and 4 million tourists in the last quarter of the year. He says standard operating procedures to govern the entry of foreign tourists, including Covid-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes, will be submitted to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration this month. Once approved and published in the Royal Gazette, tourism operators can launch their sales and marketing plans.

Yuthasak adds that work is needed on the supply and administration of vaccines, pointing out that new clusters in places like Bangkok could affect vaccine administration in Phuket.

“The new outbreak in Thailand didn’t affect tourism sentiment in foreign markets as the media in each country turned their focus towards the situation in India and domestic cases in their own countries. However, travel agents expressed concern that the virus situation may affect the reopening timeline which prompted TAT to confirm that everything is running as scheduled.”

He said travel agents are waiting for clear entry regulations, so they can offer packages to their customers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Business

Thailand’s airlines call for meeting with PM to discuss soft loans

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Ferry Octavian

The Thai Airlines Association says 7 member airlines are pushing for a meeting with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss the option of soft loans. The carriers have been seeking this financial aid for some time and have even decreased the amount being asked for, from 24 billion baht last year to 14 billion now.

The Bangkok Post reports that representatives from Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Smile Airways, Thai Lion Air, and Thai Vietjet Air want to meet the PM to discuss what progress, if any, has been made on the matter. Wutthipong Prasartthong-osod from the TAA says the loans would give the carriers the support they desperately need at this time, with the association also putting the request in writing.

The airlines previously met with the PM last August to discuss the proposal, with the TAA pointing out the situation has worsened considerably since then. The ongoing third wave of Covid-19 has led to a reduction in flights, which has had a significant impact on revenue.

In addition, carriers are struggling to meet the ongoing costs of operating flights and paying workers. The association says the provision of soft loans would cushion the impact and help domestic tourism. It is also calling on the government to vaccinate airline staff, given that they are frontline workers in the tourism sector.

The Bangkok Post reports that in February, the Finance Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, was hesitant in his response to the call for soft loans, with the Export-Import Bank of Thailand asked to come up with some form of financial assistance for the airlines. According to Arkhom, providing soft loans or bringing such lending under the Public Service Account would mean his ministry having to take responsibility for the difference between market interest and soft loan interest.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Phuket restrictions and bans extended, new ‘party’ clause added

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Including a new clause…

“5.2 Participating in eating or drinking of alcohol, in the family home or in any other place of residence, must not be attended by outsiders. In addition, gathering together or the organising of any other activities is prohibited. If the person who violates or commits this offence is a foreigner, the permission to remain living in Thailand under the Immigration Act could be revoked.”

The new clause added to the extension of the restrictions includes a specific paragraph aimed at banning gatherings of people at their homes. Obviously with THIS in mind.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

UPDATE: Phuket restrictions and bans extended, new 'party' clause added | News by Thaiger

 

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