Monday, February 14, 2011

South African Air Travel to Grow 10%

SA's domestic air passenger numbers are expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.6% over the next three years, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday.

This will make it one of few countries sustaining double-digit growth and if achieved, will be above the global average.

In an industry forecast on Monday, IATA said that worldwide domestic passenger numbers were expected to rise from 1.5 billion in 2009 to more than 2 billion in 2014.

The increase of 488 million passengers reflected a compound annual growth rate of 5.7%, compared with the 10.6% that SA is expected to enjoy.

Global air travellers are expected to rise to 3.3 billion in 2014, up 32% from 2.5 billion in 2009, fuelled by strong growth in China, IATA said.

Global airlines have seen a strong rebound from the sharp downturn in 2009 as economies, particularly in Asia, recover from the recession.

But the international air body said the effects of the slump could still be felt in parts of the industry.

"The shadow of the global economic recession is expected to remain over parts of the industry for some time to come," IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said.

IATA said China will be the biggest contributor, accounting for 214 million out of the total 800 million new air passengers between 2009 and 2014.

In December, IATA revised its profit forecast for the whole airline industry up to $9.1bn this year from a previous estimate of $5.3bn.

Last year's profit of the industry was estimated at $15.1bn, compared to September's forecast of $8.9bn. The numbers compared to a total industry loss of $9.9bn in 2009.

"China will record the highest compound annual growth rate of 13.9% and contribute an additional 181 million passengers. Other countries with double-digit growth include Vietnam (10.9%), India (10.5%) and the Philippines (10.2%)," IATA said.