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Global Air Transport Industry


The global air transport industry continues to go from strength to strength due to the central role it plays in many other industries. It is necessary for passenger travel and the transport of goods and cargo.


Industry trends are affected by factors such as technological innovation, the price of fuel, environmental regulations and safety requirements. Speed is the most significant advantage afforded by air transport. Though air transport is a good way to move people and goods quickly, the amount of goods that can be transported is limited.


Aviation represents an industry worth well over $2 trillion, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and it employs more than 55 million people.


Freight & Cargo


Though the global airfreight sector is still showing effects of the economic recession, performance exhibits year-on-year improvement, with freight volumes in mid-2012 having climbed almost 1% compared to the same period the year before. IATA reports close to a 3% rise in demand between the fourth quarter of 2011 and June 2012. Airlines in the Middle East recorded 18% growth, and North American airfreight demand showed healthy improvement.


Air cargo represents a $60 billion economic activity, transporting 35% of the $5 trillion worth of internationally traded goods, reports IATA.



Air Transport & The Environment


The global air transport industry (including the business of airport services) and the environment are closely linked, with IATA estimates showing that air transport accounts for 2% of manmade CO2 emissions worldwide. This figure is expected to grow to 3% by 2050. Governments are aware of the need to minimize the air transport sector’s negative environmental impact, and the industry aims to boost fuel efficiency almost 2% annually through 2020.


IATA proposes various ways in which to tackle climate change. Over the short-term, it recommends improving existing in-service fleet. One medium-term strategy involves a faster rate of fleet renewal. Introducing cutting-edge technologies, such as drop-in biofuels, is another possible medium-term strategy.


Over the long-term, IATA proposes the introduction of more progressive technologies and designs, in particular technologies that may cut down fuel burn per aircraft by as much as 30%.



Regional Market Share


India’s airport infrastructure has seen important expansion in recent years with state and private investment fuelling positive change, reports RNCOS. The country’s government has launched reforms to encourage investment in this industry sector, sensitive to the demand for improved airport infrastructure. The Indian airport infrastructure segment is expected to record strong growth over the long-term, driven by investment, and in particular in the Greenfield projects. The 11th Plan projections show close to $5 billion of private investment, or almost 65% of overall airport infrastructure investment.



Market Outlook


The global air transport industry is reliant on the evolution of airports and airlines; meanwhile, airlines cannot expand without necessary infrastructure improvements.  


IATA underlines the importance of effective air traffic management and airport capacity to facilitate industry growth. Good terminal infrastructure and sufficient runways are essential to connect local economies to global markets. Countries that consider aviation as more than an independent industry but rather as a connecting point between myriad sectors are faring best following the economic recession. Investing in airports to facilitate the circulation of goods is a vital strategy to boost economic growth.


Moving forward, industry players will be obliged to meet environmental requirements and abide by evolving state regulations. Obstacles to industry growth include rising oil prices and the Eurozone crisis. Cargo and passenger capacity are forecast to grow in 2012.



Leading Industry Associations




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