Worldwide air travel set to soar

The airline industry expects there to be 3.3 billion air travellers by the year 2014.

According to the International Air Transport Association, this will trump 2009’s figure of 2.5 billion by 800 million. The Asia Pacific region is expected to make the greatest contribution with 360 million, and China will provide 214 million.

The United States will contribute 671 million domestic and 215 million international passengers to the total market. Giovanni Bisignani, the director-general and chief executive officer of the airline association, said that despite 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 realise 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 Mr. Bisignani.

He added that the global economic recession was 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,” he said.

The International Air Transport Association represents some 230 airlines comprising 93 per cent of scheduled international air traffic.

The United States will contribute 671 million domestic and 215 million international passengers to the total market.

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Passenger numbers are expected to rise considerably.
Photo: File