Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017 shows that international freight volumes are expected to grow 17% over the next five years. This consensus outlook incorporates a conservative estimate of the recovery in global economic activity and world trade volumes over the coming years.

“Air cargo is a key enabler for the movement of high value products and perishable goods around the globe. More than $6 trillion worth of goods is air freighted annually, accounting for around 35% of total world trade. But more recently, the relationship between international trade and GDP has broken down owing to rising trade barriers and ‘on-shoring’ of production. The successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization talks in Bali potentially could be very important in kick-starting trade growth. To be ready to take best advantage of possible opportunities, air cargo needs to work together as an industry to improve its competitiveness and enhance the quality of its service to customers,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Forecast Highlights:

  • International freight volumes are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2%
  • The largest (US) and the third largest (China) air freight markets in 2012 are likely to add more than one million additional tonnes each over the forecast period. As a result, China will supplant Germany as the second largest air freight market in 2017
  • Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will both contribute more than 700,000 tonnes each to the additional freight volume during the five year period until 2017
  • The estimated imbalance in annual freight traffic flows from Asia to North America is expected to reach 1.1 million tonnes in 2017

International Freight Developments:

  • Africa is forecast to be the fastest growing region over the forecast period with a growth rate of 4.0% CAGR. The fastest growing freight route for Africa is the inter-Africa market (5.3%)
  • Not far behind Africa are the Middle East and Latin America, both with a CAGR of 3.8%, and the Asia-Pacific at 3.5% per annum, followed by Europe and North America at 2.4% CAGR and 2.7% CAGR, respectively
  • By 2017, the five largest international freight markets will be the United States, China Germany, Hong Kong, and the UAE
  • Vietnam is expected to be the fastest growing country for air freight volumes over the forecasting horizon with a CAGR of 6.6% per annum, followed by Bangladesh (5.7% CAGR), Brazil (5.5% CAGR), Ethiopia (5.3% CAGR) and Peru (5.2% CAGR)
  • Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 31% of the expected total increase in freight tonnage over the period

Freight Traffic Shares by Route Area:

  • The largest freight traffic shares in 2012 were within Asia Pacific (25.3%), Europe-Asia Pacific (12.1%), North and Mid-Pacific (10.5%) and North Atlantic (10.1%)
  • Looking ahead to 2017, within Asia Pacific is expected to increase its share by around one percentage point to 26.2%, with smaller gains (of around 0.3 percentage points) in both North America-Latin America (to 6.6%) and Middle East-Asia Pacific (to 6.5%)
  • Traffic shares Within Europe and in the North Atlantic are both expected to decrease by around 0.6 percentage points, to 8.3% and 9.5% respectively
  • Europe-Asia Pacific and North and Mid-Pacific are both expected to be down by around 0.3 percentage points in 2017 compared with 2012.

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.
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