Following the global crunch, which affected severely all aspects of the global economy, and air travel in particular, passenger and freight traffic reported healthy growth in 2010, and the forecast is even better for 2011, United Nations website reported on January 5 2010.
In a report compiled annually for its international members, the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said "substantial growth in traffic reflects positive economic prospects worldwide – based on a forecast of a four per cent increase in the world’s real gross domestic product".
According to the report, the healthiest growth was accounted for by the airlines of the Middle East with 21 per cent, followed by those of the Asia/Pacific region with 12.9 per cent, Latin America with 11.4 per cent, and Africa with 10 per cent. Traffic in the mature markets of North America and Europe grew by 6.2 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively.
Europe is still performing well, in spite of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland in the spring of 2010, which partially closed European airspace, disrupting business and travel and paralysing freight movements.
Winter conditions over the holiday season at the end of the year also hit the industry and passengers alike, but the UN report accredits the positive outlook to the "ability of low-cost carriers to expand their point-to-point markets, due, in part, to the geographical enlargement of the European Union, thus demand for travel remained strong and resilient".
The number of passengers carried in 2010 worldwide was up 6.3 per cent on 2009, at about 2.5 billion passengers, while cargo – measured in freight-tonne km performed – posted a dramatic jump of 18.9 per cent after a sharp decline of 11 per cent the previous year, the ICAO said, cited by the United Nations website.
International passenger traffic grew by 8.8 per cent, led by a strong rebound in business and leisure long-haul travel, particularly in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the Sofia Echo reports.