The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted global airlines will carry 3.3 billion passengers by 2014, up by 800 million from the 2.5 billion recorded in 2009.
Moreover, by 2014 international aviation will handle 38 million tonnes of air cargo, up 12.5 million tonnes from the 26 million tonnes carried in 2009.
China will be the biggest contributor of new travellers, argues the trade body.
Of the 800 million new travellers expected in 2014, 360 million (45 per cent) will travel on Asia Pacific routes and of those 214 million will be associated with China (181 million domestic and 33 million international).
The United States will remain the largest single country market for domestic passengers (671 million) and international passengers (215 million).
“Despite some regional differences, the forecast indicates the world will continue to become more mobile,” said Giovanni IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani.
The situation creates enormous opportunities but also presents some challenges, added Bisignani.
“In five years we need to be able to handle 800 million more passengers and 12.5 million more tonnes of international cargo,” he said.
“To realize the economic growth potential that this will bring, we will need even more efficient air traffic management, airport facilities and security programs. Industry and governments will be challenged to work together even more closely.”