Air Transport Records Robust Passenger Demand In 2013

Preliminary figures released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) confirmed that some 3.1 billion passengers made use of the global air transport network for their business and tourism needs in 2013. The annual passenger total was up approximately five per cent compared to 2012 and is expected to reach over 6.4 billion by 2030, based on current projections. The report which was copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday by Sue-Ann Rapattoni, ICAO Communications Associate, said the number of aircraft departures reached 33 million globally during 2013. ICAO also confirmed that scheduled passenger traffic grew at a rate of 5.2 per cent in 2013 (expressed in terms of revenue passenger-kilometres - RPKs), slightly above the United Nations body�s July 2013 projections. The ICAO statement attributed the recent upswing to positive economic results globally and improved business and consumer confidence during 2013 in several major economies, adding that, emerging economies grew more slowly than expected. The statement said the Asia/Pacific region remains the world�s largest air transport market based on the 2013 figures, with a 31 per cent share of total traffic representing an increase of 7.2 per cent over 2012. It said despite a better economic climate in Europe and North America, the traffic of the European and North American airlines increment was less than the world average, growing at 3.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. According to the statement, the Middle East remains the fastest growing air transport market in the world, with its traffic expanding over 2013 at a rate of 11.2 per cent compared to 2012, accounting for 9 per cent of global RPKs. It said international traffic grew by 5.2 per cent in 2013, with the highest levels of growth registered by the airlines of the Middle East (10.9 per cent) followed by the Latin America and Caribbean regions (8.6 per cent). The report observed that African carriers recorded the third highest regional growth rate of 7.4 per cent. The statement said: �Globally, the international air transport market was still dominated by European airlines, who accounted for 38 per cent of international traffic, declaring that Asia/Pacific airlines ranked second in this category at 27 per cent.� It noted that domestic traffic increased by 5.1 per cent compared to 2012, with airlines from North America and Asia/Pacific accounting for a combined 83 per cent of worldwide domestic traffic (47 per cent for North America, 37 per cent Asia/Pacific). The report said Asia/Pacific domestic results were 10 per cent higher than in 2012, driven mainly by Chinese airlines who account for approximately 60 per cent of the region�s total market. It said: �Air transport capacity, expressed in available seat-kilometres, increased globally by 4.6 per cent in 2013. �Average passenger load factor increased slightly in 2013, by about one-half a percentage point compared to 2012, or 79.1 per cent,� it added.