Global air passenger growth rose by 5.2% in 2013 compared with the previous year, according to IATA’s full-year traffic results.
The strongest overall growth was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (11.4 per cent) followed by Asia-Pacific (7.1 per cent) and Latin America (6.3 per cent).
IATA said the 2013 performance aligns with the average annual growth rate of the past 30 years.
IATA’s CEO Tony Tyler said the healthy demand growth seen last year in the industry “bodes well for 2014”.
“Last year’s demand performance demonstrates the essential and growing role that aviation-enabled connectivity plays in our world,” said Tyler.
The results showed airline capacity rose by 4.8 per cent, while the average load factor, or percentage of seats occupied, was 79.5 percent, a 0.4 point increase 2012.
Tyler said that improved load factors were a clear sign of the airline industry's continued efficiency drive.
Demand in international markets grew by 5.4 per cent, slightly ahead of the growth of 4.9 percent seen for domestic air travel.
North American carriers recorded the slowest passenger growth of any region at 3 per cent compared to 2012 but still an increase of 1.3 per cent from 2012.
IATA also forecast that airlines are on course for record profits, citing sliding oil prices and mergers for the sector's improving outlook.
It also said profits are likely to have reached $12.9 billion in 2013, and could rise to $19.7 billion this year.