IATA offers reasons to be cheerful

IATA’s latest Airline Industry Forecast predicts average international freight growth of three percent per year over the next five years. If the association is correct–and critics will point out that it has been forced repeatedly to water down recent short-term projections–volumes will total 34.5 million tonnes by 2016, 4.8 million tonnes more than the 2011 total.

A steadily upward growth trend over the forecast period, starting at 1.4 percent growth in 2012 and accelerating to 3.7 percent in 2016, forms the basis of IATA’s upbeat assessment. The five fastest-growing international freight markets over the 2011-2016 period are expected to be Sir Lanka (8.7 percent), Vietnam (7.4 percent), Brazil (6.3 percent), India (6.0 percent) and Egypt (5.9 percent). Five of the 10 fastest-growing countries are in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, reflecting its growing importance in international airfreight.

International freight demand will rise by three percent in the Asia-Pacific region, in line with global growth over the period. Routes within and connected to the Asia-Pacific region will comprise some 57 percent of cargo shipments, IATA believes.

Europe will see the slowest growth of any region in international freight demand, at just 2.2 percent, while the predicted figure for North America is 2.4 percent.

The Middle East will achieve the strongest international freight growth at 4.9 percent, while volumes in and out of Latin America and Africa are predicted to increase at 4.4 percent and four percent per year respectively.

“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,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO.

“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.”

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