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 just 0.5%. An estimated $6.0 trillion in cargo value was sent by air in 2017.