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Airline passenger numbers to hit 3.6bn a year

Geneva, December 6, 2012

Airlines expect to carry some 3.6 billion passengers in 2016, marking about 800 million more than the 2.8 billion passengers they flew in 2011, said a forecast issued by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

The industry consensus outlook for system-wide passenger growth sees passenger numbers expanding by an average of 5.3 per cent per annum between 2012 and 2016, added the Iata Airline Industry Forecast 2012-2016.

The 28.5 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the forecast period will see almost 500 million new passengers traveling on domestic routes and 331 million new passengers on international services.

Iata forecast adds that international freight volumes will grow at 3 per cent per annum to total 34.5 million tonnes in 2016. That is 4.8 million more tonnes of air cargo than the 29.6 million tonnes carried in 2011.

Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 30 per cent of the expected total increase in freight tonnage over the period. Africa will report the strongest passenger growth with 6.8 per cent CAGR. International cargo demand will rise 4 per cent.

The Middle East is expected to have the third fastest growth rate at 6.6 per cent. International freight demand will grow at 4.9 per cent, the strongest growth among the regions.

The emerging economies of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East will see the strongest passenger growth. This will be led by routes within or connected to China, which are expected to account for 193 million of the 831 million new passengers over the forecast period (159 million on domestic routes and 34 million traveling internationally).

Passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) is expected to add around 380 million passengers over the forecast period, said the forecast.

Through 2016, the US will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers (710.2 million). In the same year, passengers on international routes connected to the US will total 223 million, making it the largest single market for international travel as well.

Reflecting the maturity of the US market, growth rates (2.6 per cent for domestic and 4.3 per cent for international) will be well below the international average (5.3 per cent for international travel and 5.2 per cent for domestic traffic).

“Despite the current economic uncertainty, expected demand for connectivity remains strong. That’s good news for the global economy,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and CEO.

“Growing air transport links generate jobs and underpin economic growth in all economies. But exploiting these will require governments to recognize aviation’s value with policies that do not stifle innovation, tax regimes that do not punish success and investments to enable infrastructure to keep up with growth,” he concluded.

Globally, aviation supports some 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Airline | Iata | freight | Geneva | Forecast | passenger growth |

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