ICAO sees cargo improvements

WORLD scheduled airline passenger traffic grew by 5.5 per cent last year, reaching 5.8 trillion passenger-kilometres performed (PKP) – and is expected to increase by six, 6.3 and 6.5 per cent in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, according to figures collected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The 5.5 per cent growth in PKP (international and domestic services combined) recorded in 2013 by airlines of the 191 member states of ICAO was higher than the 5.3 per cent increase posted in 2012.
The number of passengers grew by some 4.5 per cent to 3.1 billion, while departures were up 1.2 per cent to 32 million globally.
At the same time, world scheduled airfreight traffic – expressed in freight tonne-kilometres (FTKs) – grew by only 0.4 per cent in 2013, but is expected to increase by 3.7, 4.2, and 4.4 per cent in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively, ICAO predicts.
The Middle East is expected to remain the fastest growing region in terms of passenger numbers, with an estimated growth rate of 11.6 per cent in 2014.
“Strong expansion of the network of air carriers in the region will support this double-digit traffic growth,” says a statement.
Overall, cargo appears to be on a steady upwards trend. ICAO expects global scheduled airfreight traffic, in terms of FTKs, to grow by 3.7 per cent this year, a rebound from the 0.4 per cent growth rate recorded in 2013.
According to research specialist IHS/Global Insight, world trade in real terms, measured by exports and imports volumes, will grow by 4.2 per cent in 2014 up from the 2.2 per cent in 2013.
Similar to its passenger results, the Middle East is expected to remain the fastest growing cargo region in terms of FTKs in 2014, with an estimated growth rate of 12.1 per cent.
“Growing world trade activities and the strong performance of Middle East carriers in international markets should provide a solid base for the region’s freight traffic growth,” ICAO points out.
Europe is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent in freight traffic in 2014, supported by economic recovery and improvement in trade of the region.
A growth trend in trade volumes of Africa should also continue, with the region’s freight traffic estimated to grow by 3.1 per cent this year.
The Asia/Pacific region, meanwhile, which accounted for almost 40 per cent of world freight traffic in 2013, is expected to grow by three per cent in 2014.
“With the improvement of the European and US economies, rising demand for Asia/Pacific-manufactured goods should support export volume increases and airfreight growth,” it adds.
With a base of solid trade growth, Latin America and Caribbean freight traffic should continue growing at a rate of 3.0 per cent in 2014. Cargo traffic in North America is expected to grow by 1.4 per cent in 2014.
Current expectations of annual world trade growth rates of 5.3 and 5.1 per cent over 2015 and 2016 should support world freight traffic growth rates of 4.2 and 4.4 per cent respectively.
Passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific region is also expected to continue its steady growth, at an estimated rate of 7.2 per cent in 2014.
“Its growth was impacted by the slowdown of the Chinese economy in the first half of the year but there is indication that the deceleration of the Chinese economy is now coming to an end,” the statement adds.
European passenger traffic is expected to grow by 5.4 per cent in 2014.
“Its general economy has shown steady improvement in the first half of the year and the recovery trend is expected to continue in the coming months.”
African passenger traffic is expected to grow by 4.8 per cent in 2014 in line with its steady economic growth.
North American passenger traffic should grow by 2.7 per cent this year, in light of the fact that economic activity in the United States has rebounded and the employment rate has increased.

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