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Friday, December 7, 2012

IATA: Airline Passenger Traffic to Increase at 5.3 Percent Per Year

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates international airline passenger traffic will grow at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent through 2016, lead by increased demand in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

In a report released Friday, IATA said it believes airlines across the globe will carry 3.6 billion passengers in 2016, an increase of 800 million over the 2.8 billion passengers carried in 2011.

The increase in traffic will primarily come from domestic routes, lead by China which is expected to account for 193 million passengers of the increase through 2016, according to the report. IATA said Africa would be the fastest-growing region, predicting an annual increase of 6.8 percent traffic growth.

International freight traffic is expected to grow at an average rate of 3 percent per year, reflecting the sluggish economies in many regions of the world.

"Despite the current economic uncertainty, expected demand for connectivity remains strong," said Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of IATA. "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."

The forecast sees the United States remaining the single largest market for domestic passengers, where domestic traffic is expected to grow at a 2.6 percent annual rate, and international traffic on routes connecting to the U.S. will grow by 4.3 percent annually. Despite the lower growth rates, the U.S. will still see an overall higher volume of passengers than any other region in the world, according to the report. 

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