Airline Travel Industry Forecast

The UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has released its annual report forecasting the economic status of global passenger and freight air traffic. As the world begins to climb out of the global recession, the modest airline industry growth that began in 2010 is predicted to become quite healthy in 2011, the ICAO report stated.

"A substantial growth in traffic reflects positive economic prospects worldwide - based on a forecast of a four per cent increase in the world’s real gross domestic product," the ICAO report said.

The healthiest growth in 2010 was seen by the airlines of the Middle East with 21 per cent, followed by those of the Asia/Pacific region with 12.9 per cent, Latin America with 11.4 per cent, and Africa with 10 per cent. Traffic in the mature markets of North America and Europe grew by 6.2 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively.

In spite of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland in the spring of 2010, that partially closed European airspace, disrupting passenger travel and freight traffic, the ICAO report stated that the European airline industry continues to perform well.

And while winter conditions over the 2010 holiday season also hit the industry hard, the ICAO report credits its positive outlook to the "ability of low-cost carriers to expand their point-to-point markets, due, in part, to the geographical enlargement of the European Union, thus demand for travel remained strong and resilient".

The number of passengers carried in 2010 worldwide was up 6.3% on 2009, at about 2.5 billion passengers. International passenger traffic grew by 8.8%, led by a strong rebound in business and leisure long-haul travel, particularly in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

ICAO was set up in 1944 as a specialized agency of the United Nations, to promote safe and orderly development of international civil aviation worldwide. It sets standards and regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, and for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 190 Contracting States.
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