Enabling trade


Aviation is central to international trade and economic development. Forecasts suggest that the world’s economies will become even more dependent on international trade in the future. World trade is expected to almost double, rising at more than twice the rate of global GDP, with China, India and other emerging markets leading the way.

Compared to other modes of transport, air freight is fast and reliable over great distances. However, these benefits come at greater cost than other transport modes. Consequently, air freight is mostly used to deliver goods that are light, compact, perishable and have a high unit value. When you look at the value of goods, over a third of all international trade is sent by air, but when you consider the volume of trade, the amount sent by air is tiny, at less than 1%. An estimated $6.5 trillion in cargo value was sent by air in 2019.

Part of everyday manufacturing

Air transport is vital to many industries’ global supply chains, used primarily for the transfer of time-sensitive goods. Rapid delivery is essential to businesses that provide streamlined production processes, or that rely on urgent delivery of parts for machinery and equipment. Manufacturing facilities all over the world rely on air transport for the delivery of high-value, lightweight and sensitive electrical components.

Supporting sustainable development

Exporters of perishable goods such as food and flowers – many of whom are located in developing countries – can only reach export markets by air, providing steady employment and economic growth to developing countries that benefit from such trade. The pharmaceutical industry also relies on air transport for delivery of time-sensitive medical supplies, particularly vaccines.