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A new forecast from Airports Council International World (ACI-World) forecasts that $2.4 trillion in total global airport capital investments will be needed to address long-term trends in passenger demand by 2040.

The report, “The Global Outlook of Airport Capital Expenditure – Meeting Sustainable Development Goals and Future Air Travel Demand,” calls for significant investment in new greenfield airports, as well as spending to grow and maintain existing airport infrastructure.

The study was supported by Hamad International Airport (DOH) and developed in collaboration with Oxford Economics. The report said a capital investment partial recovery to about 14 percent, or about $12 billion below 2019 baseline, is expected in 2021.

ACI World added that as air transport demand recovers to pre-pandemic levels, passenger demand will put increased pressure on airports’ infrastructure.

“Airport infrastructure is key to the continued development of air transport which supports millions of jobs and provides social and economic development for the global communities we serve,” said ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira. “ACI World’s CAPEX study shows the airport industry’s current financial shortfall poses significant challenges to the modernizing of infrastructure to improve sustainability and resilience which will be required if passenger demand into the future is to be met.”

If longer term capacity constraints are not addressed through capital investment, ACI World estimates it could lead to a reduction of up to 5.1 billion passengers globally by 2040.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific comprises about $1.3 trillion in needed capital spending, reflecting the region’s rapid passenger growth and subsequent demand to develop new greenfield airports as well as to modernize and expand existing airport infrastructure.

Europe’s $427 billion needs represent 18 percent global total, with more than half of this investment needed to maintain and retrofit the region’s airport infrastructure.

North America’s $400 billion in needed investment represents about 17 percent of the global total.

Latin America-Caribbean’s need represents an investment of about $94 billion of which an estimated $41 billion will be needed in new greenfield development, while Africa’s needs exceed $32 billion with the pace of needed new greenfield airport investment representing nearly 40 percent of this, the report found.