The industry consensus forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicated 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 tons of air cargo, up 12.5 million tons from the 26 million tons carried in 2009. The U.S. 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.
China will be the biggest contributor of new travelers. Of the 800 million new travelers expected in 2014, 360 million (45 percent) will travel on Asia Pacific routes. 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," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and CEO. "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 tons 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.
"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."
International passenger numbers are expected to rise from 952 million in 2009 to 1.3 billion passengers in 2014. This 313 million-traveler increase reflected a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9 percent. The fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic will be China (10.8%), the United Arab Emirates (10.2 percent), Vietnam (10.2 percent), Malaysia (10.1 percent) and Sri Lanka (9.5 percent).
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 percent.
China will record the highest CAGR of 13.9 percent and contribute an additional 181 million passengers. Other countries with double digit growth include Vietnam (10.9 percent), South Africa (10.6 percent), India (10.5 percent), and the Philippines (10.2 percent).
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).
• Asia Pacific’s international passenger demand is expected to grow 7.6 percent. 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 percent 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 percent. The UAE, Kuwait, and Jordan will be among the top 10 fastest growing countries, with the UAE ranked seventh for international passengers at 82.3 million. International freight demand will grow 8.1 percent as freight links to and via the region continue to develop. The UAE will lead the region, handling 2.7 million tons of cargo.
• Africa is expected to see international passenger growth of 7.7 percent, the second highest of the regions. International cargo demand is expected to be 5.8 percent, the lowest among the regions.
• Europe: Europe will see international passenger demand growth of 4.7 percent. The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Italy will remain among the top ten largest international passenger markets.
• Latin America will see international passenger demand grow 5.7 percent.
• North America will grow 4.9 percent for international passenger demand and 7.6 percent for international freight.
"The focus of the industry continues to shift eastward. By 2014, 1 billion people will travel by air in Asia Pacific. That’s 30 percent of the global total and a 4 percentage point increase from the 26 percent it represented in 2009. The same is true for cargo where Asia Pacific will account for 28 percent of global volumes,” said Bisignani.