The growth of global air traffic accelerated in 2014, driven by the Asia Pacific region, according to the latest data from IATA.
The full-year growth of 5.9%, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), was above the 5.2% increase seen in 2013 and also ahead of the industry’s 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.6%.
And more than half of the growth in traffic occurred on airlines in emerging markets, including Asia Pacific and the Middle East, IATA revealed.
In terms of international traffic, Asia Pacific carriers recorded growth of 5.8% compared to 2013, which was the largest increase among the three biggest regions. Middle Eastern carriers achieved a 13.0% jump in traffic.
But much of the global full-year growth was driven by Asia’s emerging domestic markets. Domestic traffic in China jumped 11.0% in 2014, while India increased 8.0%. This compares to the 2.4% growth seen in the US – the world’s biggest domestic air market.
IATA’s director-general & CEO, Tony Tyler, said the industry “did well in 2014”.
“With a 5.9% expansion of demand, the industry out-performed the 10-year average growth rate. Carriers in the Middle East posted double-digit growth,” said Tyler.
“Overall a record 3.3 billion passengers boarded aircraft last year – some 170 million more than in 2013. While it is clear that people will continue to travel in growing numbers, there have been signs in recent months that softening business confidence is translating into a levelling off of international travel demand,” he added.
International traffic on European carriers climbed 5.7% in 2014, while North America saw a 3.1% rise in international demand. Latin American traffic rose 5.8%, but in Africa the growth rate was just 0.9%.