IATA forecasts 3.6 billion airline passengers in 2016

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast that airlines will carry about 3.6 billion passengers in 2016, about 800 million more than the 2.8 billion passengers carried by airlines in 2011.

In its Airline Industry Forecast 2012-2016 released December 6, 2012, the Geneva-based association said passenger growth will expand by an average of 5.3% per annum between 2012 and 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,” IATA said in the forecast.

It adds,“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.”

According to the association, China will account for nearly one in four additional passengers.

“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),” it said.

IATA said it expects passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) to add around 380 million passengers over the forecast period.

Through 2016, the group said the United States will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers (710.2 million) and that in that same year, passengers on international routes connected to that country will total 223 million, making it the largest single market for international travel as well.

On international freight, the report said volumes will “grow at 3% per annum to total 34.5 million tonnes in 2016” and that is 4.8 million more tonnes of air cargo than the 29.6 million tonnes carried in 2011.

Commenting on the forecast, IATA’s Director General, Tony Tyler said, “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.”

Globally, aviation supports some 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activities, according to IATA.

By Ekow Quandzie

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