Air Transport 2014 Annual Report


This is the 10th edition of the World Bank Group (WBG) Air Transport Annual Report. The WBG has financed aviation related projects for over sixty years. However, formal air transport activity was only established ten years ago. Since then, activities of the WBG’s air transport practice have been presented in a comprehensive annual report, which aims to outline the objectives, instruments, actions, and outcomes of our development work in the field of air transportation.

The WBG has set two ambitious goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to boost shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent. One might be wonder - what does air transport have to do with development? Transport is not, of course, an end in itself. However, it is an important enabler to achieving economic growth and development. Air transport facilitates integration into the global economy and provides vital connectivity on a national, regional, and international scale. The success of the tourism and trade industries, for example, rest solidly on air transport.

In 2014, we continued to see the growing importance of connectivity and competitiveness in our global economy. Airlines transported around 3.3 billion passengers and 50 million metric tons of cargo across a network of 50,000 routes. Overall, the air-line industry posted a collective net profit of $19.9 billion, with an average net profit margin of about 3%. This vast global network had huge economic importance, generating an estimated 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in business activity.

Still, great regional differences exist in growth of air traffic. For example, while North American airlines experienced a modest 2.3% annual increase, annual growth for Asia Pacific carriers has been around 7.5%, while the Chinese domestic market jumped to an annual 15.4%. Africa’s growth was only 1.5%, which was partially due to the Ebola outbreak. The strongest regional growth was registered in the Middle East, where carriers increased traffic by 11.7%.

Ensuring sustained growth entails necessary investments in infrastructure, institutions, and people. Many countries are investing to modernize and build new airports to keep up with the expected growth in passengers. Air traffic control systems are being upgraded as modern satellite-based surveillance and communication systems replace traditional and antiquated ground-based systems. Safe and efficient air transport systems are founded on robust institu-tions and regulations, particularly in the implementation of safety standards.

Growth is also contingent on meeting demand for qualified personnel, as over half a million new pilots and technicians are needed by 2030, most in emerging markets. Many of our clients struggle with inefficient and deficient infrastructure and/or poor compliance with air safety standards. The WBG continues to be actively engaged in every region on projects related to air transport policy and regulation, safety, infrastructure rehabilitation, institutional strengthening, and capacity building to help clients achieve a safe, functional, efficient, and affordable air transport system.


We can still make a greater impact globally. As we are finding in many client countries, fiscal and budgetary constraints pose a major challenge to developing air transport systems. We therefore begin the new year with a focus on promoting Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The success of and return on investments depend heavily on strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. Within air transport, good governance and liberalization of ownership and traffic rights are a few critical elements needed to facilitate private sector involvement.

Finally, the environment remains the biggest challenge for sustainability in aviation. The industry remains com-mitted to finding ways to address aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The industry has set a goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020, and states have agreed with ICAO to develop a global market-based measure. A global emissions trading scheme may be introduced, and developing countries will be expected to participate.

One hundred years after the onset of commercial aviation, the industry has grown to become an essential driver of economic growth and poverty reduction. I believe that we, the World Bank Group, with cross-sectorial knowledge and resources, technical capabilities, scale, and partnerships are uniquely positioned to deliver transformational change in the sector.

Dr. Charles E. Schlumberger
Lead Air Transport Specialist


View past annual reports:

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report (pdf, 3.76mb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report (pdf, 2.07mb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Report (pdf, 1.69mb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report (pdf, 924kb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report (pdf, 917kb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2006 Annual Report (pdf, 509kb)

World Bank Group Air Transport Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report (pdf, 872kb)




For more information contact:

Charles E. Schlumberger

Shruti Vijayakumar