Middle East and China to drive international air travel growth

Guest Writer

The Middle East and China have been named as the fastest growing markets for air travel, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The association has predicted that there will be 3.3 billion travellers by 2014 with the UAE, Jordan and Kuwait contributing 9.4 percent to international passenger growth. IATA predicts that the number of air travellers will surge by 800 million in the next three years. “This creates enormous opportunities but also presents some challenges,” explained Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA. “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.” Statistics from IATA predict that the UK will remain in the top five countries for international travel, with the US, Germany, France and Spain. However despite these positive figures, Bisignani said the aviation industry needed to change its tactics if it is to recover. “The industry is sick. Over the last decade of crises, the industry lost $50 billion,” he told delegates at IATA’s Vision 2050 meeting. “It also changed completely-improving productivity by 63 percent, cutting sales and distribution costs by 19 percent and improving fuel efficiency by 20 percent.” He urged the industry to focus on an industry structure for financial sustainability, to understand the future passengers’ needs, to embrace new aircraft and technology and create an infrastructure for the future. “To protect the value that aviation delivers to consumers, companies, countries and the global economy, we need a common vision to change as we move forward,” said Bisignani.

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