Singapore - The industry consensus forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicates that by 2014 there will be 3.3 billion air travelers, up by 800 million from the 2.5 billion in 2009. By 2014 international aviation will handle 38 million tonnes of air cargo, up 12.5 million tonnes from the 26 million tonnes carried in 2009.

China will be the biggest contributor of new travelers. Of the 800 million new travelers expected in 2014, 360 million (45%) will travel on Asia Pacific routes and of those 214 million will be associated with China (181 million domestic and 33 million international). The United States will remain the largest single country market for domestic passengers (671 million) and international passengers (215 million).

“Despite some regional differences, the forecast indicates that the world will continue to become more mobile. This creates enormous opportunities but also presents some challenges. In five years we need to be able to handle 800 million more passengers and 12.5 million more tonnes of international cargo. To realize the economic growth potential that this will bring, we will need even more efficient air traffic management, airport facilities and security programs. Industry and governments will be challenged to work together even more closely,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The shadow of the global economic recession is expected to remain over parts of the industry for some time to come. Sluggish growth rates in Europe and North America are not only the result of being mature markets. Lingering consumer debts, high unemployment and austerity measures will dampen growth rates,” said Bisignani.

Forecast Highlights:

  • International passenger numbers are expected to rise from 952 million in 2009 to 1.3 billion passengers in 2014. This 313 million traveler increase reflects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9%.
  • The fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic will be China (10.8%), the United Arab Emirates (10.2%), Vietnam (10.2%), Malaysia (10.1%) and Sri Lanka (9.5%).
  • By 2014, the top five countries for international travel measured by number of passengers will be the United States (at 215 million, an increase of 45 million), the United Kingdom (at 198 million with an increase of 33 million), Germany (at 163 million with an increase of 29 million), Spain (123 million with an increase of 21 million), and France (111 million with an increase of 21 million).

  • Domestic passenger numbers are expected to rise from 1.5 billion in 2009 to over 2 billion in 2014. This 488 million passenger increase reflects a CAGR of 5.7%.
  • China will record the highest CAGR of 13.9% and contribute an additional 181 million passengers. Other countries with double digit growth include Vietnam (10.9%), South Africa (10.6%), India (10.5%), and the Philippines (10.2%).
  • By 2014 the five largest markets for domestic passengers will be the United States (671 million), China (379 million), Japan (102 million), Brazil (90 million) and India (69 million).

  • International freight volumes are expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% over the forecast period. Excluding the impact of the rapid post recession rebound in 2010, for the 2011-2014 period, the consensus view for air freight is that it will stabilize at 5% CAGR. This is slightly below the forecast growth in world trade (6%) suggesting a still conservative outlook after the recession shock and possibly some loss of market share to sea shipping.
  • The top five fastest growing international freight markets over 2009-2014 will be Hong Kong (12.3%), China (11.7%), Vietnam (11.4%), Chinese Taipei (11.3%), Russian Federation (11.0%).
  • By 2014, the largest international freight markets will be the US (8.8 million tonnes), Hong Kong (5.4 million tonnes), Germany (4.4 million tonnes), Japan (4.4 million tonnes) and China (3.8 million tonnes).
  • The volume growth expected in China and Hong Kong will account for a third of global volume growth over the period to 2014.

Regional Outlook over the 2009-2014 forecast period

  • Asia Pacific’s International passenger demand is expected to grow 7.6%. By 2014, China, Japan and Hong Kong will be the biggest international passenger markets in the region, with China being the largest international and domestic market in Asia. The region will see the highest growth rate for international freight at 9.8% with Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei comprising the region’s top five markets.
  • The Middle East is expected to have the fastest growth rate at 9.4%. The UAE, Kuwait, Jordan will be among the top 10 fastest growing countries, with the UAE ranked 7th for international passengers at 82.3 million. International freight demand will grow 8.1% as freight links to and via the region continue to develop. The UAE will lead the region, handling 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.
  • Africa is expected to see international passenger growth of 7.7%, the second highest of the regions. International cargo demand is expected to be 5.8%, the lowest among the regions.
  • Europe: Europe will see international passenger demand growth of 4.7%. The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Italy will remain among the top ten largest international passenger markets. International freight demand for the region will grow 6.5%, with Germany, the UK and the Netherlands leading the region in size. The Russian Federation will see the fastest growth rate of 11%
  • Latin America will see international passenger demand grow 5.7%. International freight demand will increase 6.4%, with Peru leading the region freight growth at 9%.
  • North America will grow 4.9% for international passenger demand and 7.6% for international freight. The US will continue to be the largest international and domestic passenger market in the world, and is expected to remain the largest international freight market by some margin.

“The focus of the industry continues to shift eastward. By 2014, 1 billion people will travel by air in Asia Pacific. That’s 30% of the global total and a 4 percentage point increase from the 26% it represented in 2009. The same is true for cargo where Asia Pacific will account for 28% of global volumes,” said Bisignani.

View Giovanni Bisignani's full speech

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
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