Singapore : After the aviation sector witnessed a hit by global turbulence, the growth in international air travel slowed down last year.
Growth of 4.5 per cent was down on the 6 per cent level achieved in 2018 and was slower than the trend over the last decade, which averaged 6.8 per cent a year.
While the 4.5 per cent level was "healthily ahead" of global economic growth, it represented "significantly slower" growth than last year, according to new data from ForwardKeys, which analyses 17 million flight booking transactions a day.
Olivier Ponti, Vice President, Insights said, "Usually, aviation grows around three percentage points ahead of global GDP. However, in the past year, we have seen several events which have held back growth; these include US trade disputes with Canada, China, Mexico and the EU, riots in Chile, France, Hong Kong and India, the grounding of the relatively new Boeing 737 Max aircraft, terrorism in Sri Lanka, the emergence of 'flight shaming' and the bankruptcy of Jet Airways."
Outbound travel from Europe grew by 3.7 per cent. Travel between European countries was up by 3.3 per cent and travel to other continents grew by 5.5 per cent.
While air travel grew in most parts of the world in 2019, the Middle East was a notable exception with international departures down by 2.4 per cent. The main cause of this was the bankruptcy of Jet Airways, which had the effect of cutting flight capacity between the region and India.
Asia Pacific was the stand-out region with international outbound travel growing by 7.7 per cent, reflecting the strong economic growth of the region. Travel between countries in the Asia Pacific region grew even more strongly, by 8.7 per cent.
Europe did "particularly well" as a destination, registering 11.7 per cent growth from Asia Pacific, boosted by new routes, following a successful EU-China tourism year.
The second placed region was Africa, international travel growth of 7.5 per cent.
The third placed region was the Americas, where international outbound travel grew by 4.8 per cent.
Travel between countries in the region grew by 3.2 per cent while growth in travel to other regions of the world, which was up 6.8 per cent, helped by the continued strength of the dollar, new connections to many parts of the world and the recovery of Egypt and Turkey as destinations.