Middle East air passenger volumes will grow by 9.4 per cent by 2014, making it the best performing region in the world.

The UAE, Kuwait and Jordan are all predicted to be in the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world, with the UAE expected to record 82.3 million passengers in the next four years, according to forecasts by the Montreal-headquartered International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The UAE will also lead the region in cargo shipments by 2014, handling 2.7 million tonnes of freight.

Middle East carriers are expected to make a $300m profit in 2011 (MEED 21:9:10).

China will be the fastest growing market, with the UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka all in the top five high growth markets. The UAE’s passenger traffic is set to rise 10.2 per cent.

Globally, IATA predicts that there will be 3.3 billion air travellers by 2014, up from the 2.5 billion air passengers in 2009. By 2014, international aviation will also handle 38 million tonnes of cargo, up from the 26 million tonnes that was handled in 2009.

Passenger traffic is forecast to rise 7.6 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region and 7.7 per cent in Africa. Latin America and North America will see rises of passenger volumes of 5.7 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively while Europe will have the lowest growth of just 4.7 per cent.