New York: The global air transport industry continues on its successful path, marked by strong growth especially in certain emerging markets, and healthy consolidation in more mature regions. While air cargo still remains somewhat below expectations, passenger growth is solid and air travelers are forecasted to double by 2035, according to the 12th edition of the World Bank Group Air Transport Annual Report.
Nevertheless, not all regions experience strong financial performance. For example, while the Asia-Pacific carriers were able to post a profit of US$ 900 million in 2016, African airlines lost US$ 800 million, and many Africa airports still experience insufficient traffic for being able to finance needed investments.
The WBG continues to recognise the potential of air transportation to contribute to economic development and shared prosperity. However, given the heterogeneous development of the sector in emerging markets, it is important to focus support and investments in regions and markets where the private sector is challenges by low or negative returns.
This explains the declining number for public sector airport projects, as well as the WBG’s enhanced focus on Public-Private Partnerships in airport infrastructure projects.
The report summarises the WBG air transport development activities, which include an overall portfolio of US$1.24 billion, and several analytical and technical research products. With this activity we remain actively engaged around the world on air transport development, by addressing policy and regulation, safety, infrastructure rehabilitation, institutional strengthening, and capacity building in client countries. Finally, environmental challenges of aviation, and how to mitigate them in emerging markets, continue to be a top priority for the WBG, which we address in cooperation with strategic partners.