The growth in passenger numbers for SA (international and domestic) was expected to be between 3% and 4% a year for the next five years, according to projections by Airlines Association of Southern Africa.
The global airlines' grouping anticipates regional air transport demand to grow 7% y-o-y in 2018, while capacity is expected to rise by 6.8% y-o-y. More people than ever are travelling.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cautioned governments across the world about privatising airports to fund growth, a statement that assumes significance as India plans to upgrade and build airports through private sector participation.
In its latest forecast, Iata also hoisted its 2017 global profitability forecast for the second time this year.
Meanwhile, the number of air passengers will rise from 4.1 billion in 2017 to 4.3 billion next year.
Labour costs, which have now leapt ahead to become the biggest expense for airlines, will comprise some 31 per cent of total costs in 2018. The demand for air cargo is at its strongest level in over a decade.
The forecast growth rates are slower than the 7.5% y-o-y seen in 2017 for passengers and the 9.3% cargo volume growth expected this year. "More routes are being opened".
"The industry also faces longer-term challenges", de Juniac acknowledged.
However, IATA said it was not concerned there was a pilot shortage after high-profile cancellations at Ryanair and American Airlines due to rostering issues and after some USA airlines awarded high pay increases to pilots this year. "To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game-implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand", De Juniac added. The benefits of aviation are compelling-2.7 million direct jobs and critical support for 3.5 per cent of global economic activity.
October worldwide passenger demand rose 7.3% compared to October 2016, which was an improvement compared to the 6.6% demand increase for September. Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development.
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