Air Passenger Traffic to Hit 3.3 Billion by 2014

The number of air passengers will grow by more than 800 million in the next three years, according to an industry forecast by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The Geneva-based airline group predicts airlines globally will carry 3.3 billion travelers by 2014, up 32% from 2009.

Most of the growth will come out of China, IATA says.

Some 360 million (45%) of the 800 million additional passengers will travel on Asia-Pacific routes and, of those, 214 million will be associated with China (181 million domestic and 33 million international), according to projections.

"The focus of the industry continues to shift eastward. By 2014, a billion people will travel by air in Asia Pacific. That's 30% of the global total," says Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.

The United States will remain the largest single country market for domestic passengers (671 million) and international passengers (215 million).

In all, by 2014 the five largest markets for domestic passengers will be the United States (671 million), China (379 million), Japan (102 million), Brazil (90 million) and India (69 million), IATA predicts.

The association says the fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic over the next three years will be China, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

IATA, which represents some 230 airlines worldwide, says the increased air passenger numbers globally will require some preparation.

"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," Bisignani says.

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