MONTRÉAL, 16 December 2013 ─ Preliminary figures released today 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 is up approximately 5 per cent compared to 2012 and is expected to reach over 6.4 billion by 2030, based on current projections.
The number of aircraft departures reached 33 million globally during 2013, establishing a new record and surpassing the 2012 departure figure by more than one million flights. 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 or RPKs), slightly above the UN body’s July 2013 projections.
ICAO attributed the recent upswing to positive economic results globally and improved business and consumer confidence during 2013 in several major economies. Emerging economies grew more slowly than expected.
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. Despite a better economic climate in Europe and North America, the traffic of the European and North American airlines increased less than the world average, growing at 3.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. 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.
International passenger traffic
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 region (8.6 per cent). African carriers recorded the third highest regional growth rate at 7.4 per cent.
Globally, the international air transport market was still dominated by European airlines, who accounted for 38 per cent of international traffic. Asia/Pacific airlines ranked second in this category at 27 per cent.
Domestic passenger traffic
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). 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.
Air transport capacity, expressed in available seat-kilometres (ASKs), 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.
Regional passenger traffic and capacity growth, market shares and load factors in 2013*
ASKs: Available Seat-kilometres
LFs: Passenger Load Factors
* These figures are preliminary and cover scheduled commercial services only. The statistics are applicable to the traffic by region of airline domicile.
On the air cargo side, traffic expressed in freight tonne-kilometres (FTKs) saw an increase of about 1 per cent, or approximately 51 million tonnes of freight carried. Asia/Pacific airlines had the largest share of global FTKs, but saw a contraction in overall freight volume similar to what was experienced by North American carriers. The Middle East remained the region with the fastest air cargo traffic growth in 2013 compared to 2012, accounting for 12 per cent of global FTKs.
The world’s major aircraft manufacturers are expected to have delivered more than 1,500 new commercial aircraft by the end of 2013 and have recorded orders for an impressive 2,800 new aircraft.
Together with more efficient processes now being implemented by airline and airport operators, as well as improved flow management and performance-based air navigation, these environmentally-friendly aircraft will contribute positively to continued and sustainable air transport development.
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