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UAE-India to be world's busiest air route over next 18 years: IATA

Dubai: Forget the present – the air routes between UAE and India will be the fastest-growing in the world between 2021 and 2039, with passenger numbers expected to grow 6.9 per cent annually. During this period, global air passenger growth could be in the range of 1.5-3.6 per cent over the same period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The other two international routes expected to take off in a big way are China-Thailand, with 5.6 per cent annual passenger growth, and China-Japan, which will see numbers rise by 4.6 per cent every year. When it comes to domestic air travel, India is way ahead of everyone else with passenger figures expected to see a 6.2 per cent rise every year.

China will see 5 per cent growth and the US – the world’s largest aviation market – will grow only at 1.4 per cent annually.

Possible recovery

The industry body also said in its report that while global passenger numbers will return to pre-COVID levels in 2023, Middle East and Europe will only see a return to normal by 2024 – in line with IATA’s original forecast. Passenger numbers could recover to 52 per cent of pre-COVID levels this year and further grow to 88 per cent in 2022.

“The immediate challenge is to reopen borders, eliminate quarantine measures and digitally manage vaccination/testing certificates,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General. “At the same time, we must assure the world that aviation’s long-term growth prospects are supported with an unwavering commitment to sustainability.”