“The traffic recovery in 2004 was phenomenal across all regions,” said Giovanni
Bisignani, the Director General of the International Air Transport Association
(IATA). Bisignani reported that 2004 full year international scheduled passenger
traffic increased 15.3% and cargo traffic 13.4% over 2003 levels at a meeting of
the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) in Maastrict. All regions reported double-digit year-on-year growth with the Middle East and Asia
Pacific leading the way at 24.8% and 20.5% growth for passenger traffic. Freight
also saw double digit growth in all regions with the Middle East carriers reporting
the highest growth at 26.8%.
For December 2004 and Year End Statistics, go to
The one-off recovery from SARS contributed an estimated 5% of the global passenger
traffic growth. Going forward IATA forecasts average annual growth of 6.0% for the
period to 2008, in line with the historical trend.
“The challenge for 2005 is to turn traffic growth into profitability with improved
cost efficiency across the industry’s value chain,” said Bisignani.
The industry ended 2004 with an estimated loss of US$4.8 billion. IATA forecasts an
industry profit of US$1.2 billion for 2005*. The price of fuel remains a critical
factor for airline profitability.
“Airlines enter 2005 with a renewed determination to increase efficiency and reduce
industry costs,” said Bisignani. “We ask the same of our partners, many of whom are
monopolies. The bill for air navigation services has increased by 9.4% since 1999 to
a total of US$8 billion. Over the same period airline yields declined by over 10%.
The level of cost efficiency among air navigation service providers (ANSPs) is
simply not good enough.”
“Our customers demand that we evolve to a low cost industry with simplified business
processes. Our partners, including ANSPs and airports must be a part of that
evolution. As customers paying an enormous bill, we demand better value, increased
transparency and meaningful consultation on future developments. ANSPs must
harmonise infrastructure and operations across borders. And we must agree on the
adoption of new technology based on real value and business benefits,” said
*Based on an average price of US$34 for Brent Crude