Sri Lanka seen as among fastest growing passenger markets

SINGAPORE, February 14, 2011 (AFP) – Eight-hundred million more people will travel by air by 2014, over a quarter of them from China, raising the need for more efficient traffic management and airports, IATA trade body said Monday. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast an estimated 3.3 billion air travellers in three years’ time, up 32 percent from the 2.5 billion in 2009.

“China will be the biggest contributor of new travellers,” the global aviation trade body said in a news statement.

“Of the 800 million new travellers expected in 2014, 360 million (45 percent) will travel on Asia-Pacific routes and of those, 214 million will be associated with China,” it said.

“The United States will remain the largest single country market for domestic passengers and international passengers.”

China’s rapidly expanding economy has seen the country’s aviation sector grow at a blistering pace over the past few years on the back of an ever-growing middle class that has plenty of money to spend.

International aviation is also projected to handle 38 million tonnes of air cargo by 2014, up 46 percent from 26 million tonnes in 2009.

IATA director-general and chief executive Giovanni Bisign