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UN agency predicts steady growth in air traffic during coming decade

UN agency predicts steady growth in air traffic during coming decade

The world's skyways will become more crowded in the coming decade as air traffic rises by an average annual rate of 4.5 per cent, according to new statistics released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Total freight traffic over the same period will grow even more, at a rate of 6 per cent from 1999-2010, the United Nations specialized agency reported.

The overall number of domestic and international aircraft departures on scheduled services is forecast to rise by almost a third, while the number of aircraft-kilometres flown will increase by almost 50 per cent, the Montreal-based ICAO said.

Traffic of Asia-Pacific airlines is expected to grow well above average for both passengers and freight, according to the estimates. The fastest growing international routes for passenger traffic are forecast to be in the North America-Central America/Caribbean and the North America-South America groups, followed closely by the Transpacific and Europe-Asia/Pacific groups.

Created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of civil aviation, ICAO sets international standards and regulations for the safety, security, efficiency and regularity of air transport. The agency also serves to promote cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 187 Contracting States.