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IATA Releases Five-Year Traffic Forecast

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

12 December 2012

The commercial aviation industry will need to add capacity for an extra 800m passengers each year by 2016, new research from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows.

New projections from IATA predict that industry traffic will grow to some 3.6bn passengers by 2016, up from the 2.8bn passengers carried by airlines in 2011, an annual growth rate of 5.3%.

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

Meanwhile, international freight volumes are expected to increase by 3% per annum to total 34.5m tonnes in 2016, 4.8m tons more than in 2011.

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 193m of the 831m new passengers over the forecast period (159m on domestic routes and 34m traveling internationally). Passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) is expected to add around 380m passengers over the forecast period.

Through 2016, the United States will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers (710.2m). In the same year, passengers on international routes connected to the United States will total 223m, making it the largest single market for international travel. Reflecting the maturity of the United States market, growth rates (2.6% for domestic and 4.3% for international) will be well below the international average (5.3% for international travel and 5.2% for domestic traffic).

“Despite the current economic uncertainty, expected demand for connectivity remains strong. That’s good news for the global economy. 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,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, highlighting that, globally, aviation supports some 57m jobs and USD2.2 trillion in economic activity.

According to IATA's research, five of the 10 fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic will be from the Commonwealth of Independent States, part of the former Soviet Union. The others will comprise nations from Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Kazakhstan's traffic volumes are expected to increase at the fastest rate during the next five years, by 20.3% annually, followed by Uzbekistan (11.1%), Sudan (9.2%), Uruguay (9%), Azerbaijan (8.9%), Ukraine (8.8%), Cambodia (8.7%), Chile (8.5%), Panama (8.5%) and Russia (8.4%).

By 2016, the top five countries for international travel measured by number of passengers will be the United States (at 223.1m, an increase of 42.1m), the United Kingdom (at 200.8m, 32.8m new passengers), Germany (at 172.9m, +28.2m), Spain (134.6m, +21.6m), and France (123.1m, +23.4m).

TAGS: aviation

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