Africa is world’s second fastest growing commercial aviation market – IATA


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that Africa is the second fastest growing region of the world in terms of commercial aviation, and is expected to see an international passenger growth rate of 7.7% over the next three years. However, international cargo demand is expected to be 5.8%, the lowest among the main world regions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that there will be 3.3 billion air travellers by 2014, up from 2.5 billion in 2009. Airlines will carry more cargo, going from 26 million tons carried in 2009 to 38 million tons in 2014. Much of this growth is coming from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Earlier this year IATA reported that Africa was the only region in the world to experience strong commercial aviation growth. African carriers saw traffic growth rates of 12.6% for October and 16.4% for November 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Africa’s carriers moved 11% more people in November 2010 than during the pre-recession peak in early 2008. All other regions recorded a slowing down in year-on-year growth rates from October to November, IATA said.

Africa also experienced an increase in freight transport, as all regions around the globe except Africa saw dramatic drops in year-on-year freight transport growth from October to November.

The African Airlines Association’s 2010 report projected average African traffic growth to be higher than the world average for the foreseeable future. During the first half of 2010, African airlines showed 3.4% better passenger traffic than the global average for the same period.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation in late December 2010 made note of several ‘hottest airlines’ in Africa, mostly in North Africa, including Air Arabia Egypt, Air Arabia Maroc, and Ethiopian Airlines. North Africa is showing positive growth as it is linked to the economies of the Middle East, as well as Europe. However, in central and western Africa, air transport development is minimal due to political conflict, according to Brazilian manufacturer Embraer’s 2010 annual report.

One of the main reasons for the growth in Africa is economic expansion in developing countries. Because Africa is less integrated with the global economy, it has been affected less by the recession than developed countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting a growth rate of 4.2% for the global economy in 2011, which is less than 2010 but much more than the recession-hit rates of 2008/9. In contrast, the IMF predicts a growth rate of 4.9% for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, following growth of 2.9%. This is largely due to the worldwide recovery, demand for African exports and imports to the continent.

China holds the spot as the country with the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9% with an additional 181 million passengers. Other countries with double digit growth include Vietnam (10.9%), South Africa (10.6%), India (10.5%), and the Philippines (10.2%).

IATA anticipates the Middle East to have the fastest commercial aviation growth rate at 9.4%. The UAE, Kuwait, Jordan will be among the top 10 fastest growing countries, with the UAE ranked 7th for international passengers at 82.3 million. Meanwhile, international freight demand will grow 8.1% as freight links to and via the region continue to develop. The UAE will lead the region, handling 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.

Meanwhile, Asia is experiencing enormous growth in the commercial aviation sector, with Asia Pacific’s international passenger demand growing by 7.6%. By 2014, China, Japan and Hong Kong will be the biggest international passenger markets in the region, with China being the largest international and domestic market in Asia. The region will see the highest growth rate for international freight at 9.8% with Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei comprising the region’s top five markets.
“The focus of the industry continues to shift eastward. By 2014, 1 billion people will travel by air in Asia Pacific. That’s 30% of the global total and a 4 percentage point increase from the 26% it represented in 2009. The same is true for cargo where Asia Pacific will account for 28% of global volumes,” said Bisignani.

China will contribute the most number of new travellers. Of the 800 million new travellers expected in 2014, 360 million (45%) will travel on Asia Pacific routes and of those, 214 million will be associated with China (181 million domestic and 33 million international). China’s overall domestic market will be 379 million passengers by 2014.

However, the United States will continue to be the largest international and domestic passenger market in the world, and is expected to remain the largest international freight market by some margin. The US will have 671 million domestic and 215 million international passengers. After the United States and China, the other largest domestic passenger markets will be Japan (102 million), Brazil (90 million) and India (69 million).
“Despite some regional differences, the forecast indicates that the world will continue to become more mobile, said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “This creates enormous opportunities but also presents some challenges. In five years we need to be able to handle 800 million more passengers and 12.5 million more tonnes of international cargo. To realize 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,” he said.
“The shadow of the global economic recession is expected to remain over parts of the industry for some time to come. Sluggish growth rates in Europe and North America are not only the result of being mature markets. Lingering consumer debts, high unemployment and austerity measures will dampen growth rates,” said Bisignani.

With regard to international travel, IATA estimates that international passenger numbers will rise from 952 million in 2009 to 1.3 billion in 2014. This 313 million increase reflects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9%.

IATA reports that the fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic will be China (10.8%), the United Arab Emirates (10.2%), Vietnam (10.2%), Malaysia (10.1%) and Sri Lanka (9.5%).

In terms of size, the top five countries with the most international passengers by 2014 will be the United States (at 215 million, an increase of 45 million), the United Kingdom (at 198 million with an increase of 33 million), Germany (at 163 million with an increase of 29 million), Spain (123 million with an increase of 21 million), and France (111 million with an increase of 21 million). Overall, Europe will see international passenger demand growth of 4.7% while international freight demand for the region will grow 6.5%. Of the European countries, Russia will see the fastest growth rate of 11%.

With regard to domestic travel, passenger numbers will rise from 1.5 billion in 2009 to over 2 billion in 2014. This 488 million passenger increase reflects a CAGR of 5.7%.

International freight volumes will continue to grow strongly over the next three years, showing a CAGR of 8.2%. Disregarding the impact of the rapid post-recession rebound in 2010, IATA forecasts that air freight growth will stabilise at 5% CAGR for the 2011-2014. This is slightly below the forecast growth in world trade (6%) suggesting conservative outlook after the recession shock and possibly some loss of market share to sea shipping. However, the impact of piracy on shipping may offset this in the future.

The top five fastest growing international freight markets over 2009-2014 will be Hong Kong (12.3%), China (11.7%), Vietnam (11.4%), Chinese Taipei (11.3%) and Russia (11.0%). Growth in China and Hong Kong will account for a third of global growth by volume up to 2014.

By 2014, the largest international freight markets will be the United States (8.8 million tonnes), Hong Kong (5.4 million tonnes), Germany (4.4 million tonnes), Japan (4.4 million tonnes) and China (3.8 million tonnes).

Latin America will continue to grow healthily, with international passenger demand increasing at a rate of 5.7%. International freight demand will increase 6.4%, with Peru leading the region freight growth at 9%. In comparison, North American international passenger demand will grow 4.9% while international freight will grow 7.6%.