The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an industry traffic forecast showing that airlines expect to welcome some 3.6 billion passengers in 2016. That’s about 800 million more than the 2.8 billion passengers carried by airlines in 2011.
These figures are revealed in the IATA Airline Industry Forecast 2012-2016. This industry consensus outlook for system-wide passenger growth sees passenger numbers expanding by an average of 5.3% per annum between 2012 and 2016. The 28.5% increase in passenger numbers over the forecast period will see almost 500 million new passengers traveling on domestic routes and 331 million new passengers on international services.
International freight volumes will grow at 3% per annum to total 34.5 million tonnes in 2016. That is 4.8 million more tonnes of air cargo than the 29.6 million tonnes carried 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 193 million of the 831 million new passengers over the forecast period (159 million on domestic routes and 34 million traveling internationally). Passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) is expected to add around 380 million passengers over the forecast period.
Through 2016, the United States will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers (710.2 million). In the same year, passengers on international routes connected to the United States will total 223 million, making it the largest single market for international travel as well. 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. Globally, aviation supports some 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity.
International Passenger Development
International passenger numbers are expected to grow from 1.11 billion in 2011 to 1.45 billion passengers in 2016, bringing 331 million passengers for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%.
Five of the 10 fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic are among the Commonwealth of Independent States or were part of the former Soviet Union with the others in Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Kazakhstan leads at 20.3% CAGR, 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 the Russian Federation (8.4%).
By 2016, the top five countries for international travel measured by number of passengers will be the United States (at 223.1 million, an increase of 42.1 million), the United Kingdom (at 200.8 million, 32.8 million new passengers), Germany (at 172.9 million, +28.2 million), Spain (134.6 million, +21.6 million), and France (123.1 million, +23.4 million).
Domestic Passenger Development
Domestic passenger numbers are expected to rise from 1.72 billion in 2011 to 2.21 billion in 2016, a 494 million increase reflecting a CAGR of 5.2% over the period.
Kazakhstan will experience the fastest growth rate at 22.5% CAGR, adding 3.9 million passengers to the 2.2 million in 2011. India will have the second highest growth rate at 13.1% CAGR, adding 49.3 million new passengers. China’s 10.1% rate will result in 158.9 million new domestic passengers. No other country is expected to experience double-digit growth rates over the forecast period. Brazil, which has the industry’s third largest domestic market after the United States and China, will experience an 8% CAGR, adding 38 million new passengers.
By 2016 the five largest markets for domestic passengers will be the United States (710.2 million), China (415 million), Brazil (118.9 million), India (107.2 million), and Japan (93.2 million).
International Freight Developments
International freight volumes are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 3.0%, which is the result of an upward growth trend over forecast period – starting at 1.4% growth in 2012 and reaching 3.7% in 2016.
The five fastest growing international freight markets over the 2011-2016 period will be Sir Lanka (8.7% CAGR), Vietnam (7.4%), Brazil (6.3%), India (6.0%) and Egypt (5.9%). Five of the 10 fastest growing countries are in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, reflecting MENA’s growing importance in international air freight.
By 2016, the largest international freight markets will be the United States (7.7 million tonnes), Germany (4.2 million tonnes), China (3.5 million tonnes), Hong Kong (3.2 million tonnes), Japan (2.9 million tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (2.5 million tonnes), the Republic of Korea (1.9 million tonnes), the United Kingdom (1.8 million tonnes), India (1.6 million tonnes) and the Netherlands (1.6 million tonnes).
Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 30% of the expected total increase in freight tonnage over the period.
Regional Outlook over the 2012-2016 forecast period
Asia-Pacific passenger traffic is forecast to grow at 6.7% CAGR. Traffic within the Asia-Pacific region will represent 33% of global passengers in 2016, up from 29% in 2011. This makes the region the largest regional market for air transport (ahead of North America and Europe which each represent 21%). International freight demand will rise 3% CAGR, in line with global growth over the period. Routes within and connected to the Asia-Pacific region will comprise some 57% of cargo shipments.
Africa will report the strongest passenger growth with 6.8% CAGR. International cargo demand will rise 4%.
The Middle East is expected to have the third fastest growth rate at 6.6%. International freight demand will grow at 4.9%, the strongest growth among the regions.
Europe will see international passenger demand growth of 4.4% CAGR. International freight demand for the region will grow 2.2% CAGR, the slowest for any region.
North America will record the slowest international passenger demand growth–4.3% CAGR. International freight demand will rise 2.4%.
Latin America will see international passenger demand grow 5.8% CAGR. International freight demand will increase 4.4% per annum.