The recovery of the aviation sector, which resulted in a global industry profit of US$18 billion in 2010, was hampered by new challenges during fiscal year 2011. Political unrest in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa, and the effects of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, had a dampening effect on demand in certain regions. During the same period, the price of oil increased by 45 percent to a new average of US$129 per barrel, which resulted in a massive increase in the operating costs of most carriers.
Despite these challenges, passenger air travel volumes continued to grow, as load factors improved. Air cargo, on the other hand, remained well below expectations with weak demand, reflecting a continued slump in world trade. Meanwhile, growth in passenger demand varied greatly between regions. The strongest increases occurred in Latin America, catalyzed by the Brazilian domestic market, and in the Middle East, with the continued expansion of global carriers in the United Arab Emirates. These regions were followed by Europe, which was able to build its long-haul traffic to East Asia, as well as developing intra-European demand. The Asia and Pacific market provided a mixed picture of slowing growth. Certain countries, for example India, continued to develop their domestic markets, but others experienced a sharp drop of demand, notably Japan and China. Finally, demand in North America remained weak given the continued slowdown of the US economy.
Despite these increased headwinds, the global air transport sector continues to expand, as it remains a vital ingredient for global economic development. Improvements have continued in safety and security standards, especially in emerging countries which had been lagging behind. However, global challenges linked to the sustainability of the sector are increasing, as energy demand and its environmental impact require global solutions. Many governments of emerging countries now have to respond to these issues, while their aviation sector needs continued growth to support economic development.
The World Bank Group remains committed to support its client countries in developing a sustainable air transport sector. The provision of safe, secure, and affordable air transport services depends on their global sustainability, so our support for development will increasingly focus on aspects of green growth of aviation.
For the full story of the World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report as well as previous issues of annual reports, please see the links below:
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report (PDF file, 2,070kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report (PDF file, 1,743kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Report (PDF file, 1,687kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report (PDF file, 924kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report (PDF file, 917kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2006 Annual Report (PDF file, 509kb in size)
World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report (PDF file, 872kb in size)
To contact the air transport office at the World Bank, please click below to send an email to
Charles E. Schlumberger
Lead Air Transport Specialist
Air Transport Specialist