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News: U.S. Projected To Lag Developing Countries in Air Travel


In news that mimics much of the global economy, the International Air Transport Association has released its projections for air passenger and air freight for the years 2013-2017.

Projections indicate that while travel and freight is expected to remain stable over that timeframe, most of the newer growth will be taking place in emerging and developing economies, with China leading the way in growth.

Noting that both freight and passenger travel are expected to increase, the growth of passenger travel continues to increase, while the growth of freight is on the decline in many areas.

Passenger Travel

  • Overall passenger travel growth expected to be 31% between 2013 and 2017, or an annual growth rate of 5.4%. (*)

  • Largest markets for passengers will be U.S., China, and Germany.

Domestic passengers:

Largest markets for domestic travel (with growth rate):

  1. U.S (2.2%)

  2. China (10.25)

  3. Brazil (6.3%)

Fastest growing countries for international travel:

  1. Uzbekistan (10.3%)

  2. China (10.2%)

  3. Kazakhastan (9 %)

  4. Russia (7.7%)

  5. Turkey (7.6%)

  6. Oman (7.5%)

  7. China (7.1%)

  8. Vietnam (6.9%)

  9. Saudi Arabia (6.9%)

  10. Azerbaijan (6.8%)

Other interesting facts:

Latin American countries account for 5 of the top 10 overall largest growth rates.

24% of the growth of new passengers will occur in routes within or connected to China.


While freight is expected to grow, the growth rate is projected to be 3.2%. This decreased growth rate indicates a slowdown and may be related to the continued slow world economy.

The largest markets for freight are:

  1. U.S

  2. China

  3. Germany

  4. Hong Kong

  5. United Arab Emirates

And areas with the largest growth rates are:

  1. Africa (5.3%)

  2. Middle East (3.8%)

  3. Latin America (3.5%)

  4. Asia Pacific (3.5%)

  5. North America (2.7%)

  6. Europe (2.4%)

Other interesting facts

  • Vietnam is the country expected to have the largest freight increase over the next 4 years. This is perhaps due to their rapidly expanding high tech manufacturing sector.

  • Projected trade deficit between China and North America will reach 1.1 million tons in 2017. While much is made of knowledge economies, these numbers would seem to indicate that manufacturing economies are still a rapidly expanding arena.


So what do these projections tell us? Well for starters it’s an interesting glimpse into where the growth is. Freight overall is slowing down, but very much alive and kicking in emerging manufacturing countries in Asia such as Vietnam and China. This should continue to bode well for courier and transportation companies such as UPS and DHL.

And while U.S. and China remain strong players for domestic air passengers, for international travel there seems to be high growth rates across EurAsia and Latin America. This may be indicative of emerging economies as well as consumers newly able to travel internationally along with the ability to afford such travel. This should bode well for companies that support international travellers such as travel insurance companies like Allianz Global Assistance.

UPS and DHL and other trademarks are the registered business names of their respective owners.

Allianz Global Assistance is the registered business name for AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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