The International Air Transport Association predicts renewed stability over 2005-9 and is forecasting that the strongest industry growth will stem from the international freight sector and on routes to Asia and the Middle East.

The industry body expects 2005 to mark a shift from the “extremely volatile” demand swings of the last four years to a period of “stable growth”.

International freight volume is expected grow by an average of 6.3% annually, according to the forecast, ahead of 5.6% growth in international passengers.

IATA says that the freight development will mark “a return to trend growth rates”, compared with the weak performance of 2005 to date.

China will head the freight push with 14.4% annual growth, says IATA, as the country shifts from 25.2 million tonnes handled in 2004 to 34.2 million tonnes in 2009.

Routes within the Asia-Pacific region are expected to lead the way in international passenger growth, forecast at 6.8%.

Source: Flight International