Downstream development of disturbance waves properties in annular regime of gas - liquid flow was conducted in adiabatic air-water downwards flow in a vertical pipe with inner diameter of 11.7 mm. The measurements were conducted using brightness-based laser-induced fluorescence technique. Instantaneous distributions of local thickness of liquid film along one longitudinal section of the duct over the first 45 cm from the inlet were obtained with sampling frequency of 10 kHz. Based on these spatiotemporal plots, dependence of local average velocity of disturbance waves on downstream distance was obtained for a wide range of gas and liquid flow rates. Three main stages of flow development were identified: a stage prior to formation of disturbance waves, a stage of constant acceleration of disturbance waves and a stage of deceleration nearly compensating the initial acceleration. Transitions to both second and third stages occur closer to the inlet at higher gas velocities and lower liquid flow rates. The initial acceleration is defined by the effect of the gas shear; it grows in parabolic manner with superficial gas velocity and shows weak dependence on liquid flow rate. The deceleration is supposed to occur due to entrainment of liquid from disturbance waves.