India, China to account for half of air passenger growth in 2 decades: IATA

India and China are projected to account for nearly half of the air passenger growth worldwide over the next two decades, with travellers coming from all walks of life, according to global airlines' grouping IATA.

With more number of people making air travel, India was one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets in the world for nearly five years continuously. However, the growth turned negative in April mainly due to flight cancellations and subsequent grounding of full service carrier Jet Airways.

Brian Pearce, Chief Economist at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Sunday said the negative growth in the Indian market was temporary and that the market would expand as Indians want to travel more.

In his address at the annual general meeting here, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the developing markets are expected to provide the majority of additional passenger demand.

"India and China alone are forecast to account for around 45 per cent of all additional passenger trips over the next two decades. Even more than today, the travellers of the future will come from all walks of life and economic means," he said.

Talking about infrastructure issues, de Juniac said critically congested airports are spread the world over, and governments should take note that developing infrastructure, airports or air traffic management, lays an economic cornerstone.

According to him, careful planning, broad consultation with users, examination of funding options and a keen focus on affordability are the keys to making it successful.

"Sao Paulo, New York, London, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Bangkok and Sydney are all examples of airport bottlenecks due to capacity constraints -- both real and artifical," de Juniac said.

Creeping protectionist or isolationist political agendas are on the rise and that they threaten to compromise value the aviation industry creates, he added.

On year-on-year basis, India's domestic air passenger growth declined 4.5 per cent in April, as per data released by aviation regulator DGCA.

In its monthly report issued in May, IATA said India's domestic air traffic registered first negative growth rate in more than five years in April, mainly due to the demise of Jet Airways.

Following a sustained period of strong double-digit RPK growth, the India domestic market recorded its first negative growth rate in April since January 2014, it had said.

Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPK) is a measure of passenger volumes.

On Sunday, IATA said that in the Asia-Pacific airlines would deliver a net profit of $6 billion in 2019 compared to $7.7 billion last year.

"The region is showing very diverse performance. Accounting for about 40 per cent of global air cargo traffic makes the region the most exposed to weakness in world trade, and that, combined with higher fuel costs, is squeezing the region's profits," it added.

IATA is a grouping of around 290 airlines.

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