Things are looking up for the air transport industry. In its latest cargo traffic forecast, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts international tonnage will grow 6 percent annually through 2008. Where will that growth come from? The analysts say they expect a strong performance in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in markets linked to China and India.
Welcome as it is, that 6-percent figure actually represents a slowdown over 2004. When year-end figures become available, IATA expects the numbers to show that freight grew by just over 10 percent. "It looks like we will finish 2004 with the strongest traffic rebound that the industry has seen since the 1991 recovery from the effects of the Gulf War," says IATA Director Giovanni Bisignani (referring to both cargo and passenger traffic). "Expectations for the rest of the forecast period are in line with historical industry trends. If nothing changes in the operating environment, this is the start of a good news story for the industry."