Asia-Pacific airports have seen traffic hit “rock bottom” due to the coronavirus outbreak, said the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific.

According to preliminary traffic data the trade association released on 20 April, 18 airports in major aviation markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East saw traffic plummet by 95% by the middle of April.

“Passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific region has reached rock bottom. Airports have been forced to make difficult operational decisions including full or partial closure of terminals and runways and reduction of front-line employees,” ACI Asia-Pacific director general Stefano Baronci said in a statement.

He cautions that those measures will take time to reverse and a return to full operational status will not happen overnight.

ACI Asia-Pacific is calling for a coordinated approach between governments, regulators, health authorities and aviation stakeholders to manage the post-Covid-19 recovery.

Screening of passengers upon departure and arrival, health declarations for travellers, changes to airport security checks and measures to keep passengers apart in airport shops and cafes are among the measures the industry may need to take to restore passenger confidence in travelling.

Baronci said freedom of movement will have to co-exist with the virus until a vaccine is available globally.

He states: “The virus has imposed a ‘new normal’ of living on us. A united industry needs to create a ‘new normal’ for travelling.”