Present trends in air
transport suggest passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in
The latest update to IATA’s 20-Year Air Passenger
Forecast, shows that an increasing shift Eastwards in the center
of gravity of the industry is behind the continued strong growth.
Over the next two decades, the forecast anticipates a 3.5%
compound annual growth rate (CAGR), leading to a doubling in
passenger numbers from today’s levels.
warned, however, that growth prospects for air transport, and the
economic benefits driven by aviation, could be curtailed if
protectionist measures are implemented by governments.
“Aviation is growing, and that is generating
huge benefits for the world,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s
Director General and CEO. “A doubling of air passengers in the
next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally. There are
two important things that stand out about this year’s forecast.
Firstly, we are seeing a geographical reshuffling of world air
traffic to the East. And secondly, we foresee a significant
negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough
and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented.”
The Asia-Pacific region will
drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of
new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets.
Growth in this market is being driven by a combination of
continued robust economic growth, improvements in household
incomes and favorable population and demographic profiles.
China will displace the United States as the world’s largest
aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the
country) in the mid-2020s. The rebalancing of China’s economy
towards consumption will support strong passenger demand over the
India will take 3rd place after the US,
surpassing the UK around 2024.
Indonesia is forecast to be a
standout performer—climbing from the world’s 10th largest aviation
market in 2017 to the 4th largest by 2030.
expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030, replacing Italy
which drops out of the ranking.
Asia Pacific Aviation Industry Update (October 2018).
Globalization Reversed or
The 3.5% CAGR to 2037 assumes an
unchanged policy framework over that period. Policy shifts,
however, are likely over time. Should protectionism continue to
expand in a “reverse globalization” scenario, aviation would
continue to grow, but at a slower pace and deliver fewer economic
and social benefits. Under a liberalized environment connectivity
would generate significantly more jobs and GDP growth.
“Global prosperity depends on air connectivity. Aviation is
sensitive to policies that either support or undermine growth. And these seem to be pointing in the wrong direction. Dampening demand
for air connectivity risks high quality jobs, and economic activity dependent on global mobility. This forecast is a
cautionary warning to governments. First, the industry will grow
but they must clear the infrastructure bottlenecks to bring that
growth to their home markets. And secondly, governments must understand that globalization has made our world more socially and
economically prosperous. Inhibiting globalization with protectionism will see opportunities lost,” said de Juniac.
Infrastructure and Sustainability
No matter which
growth scenario comes to pass, aviation faces an infrastructure
crisis. Governments must work closely with the industry, to be
more ambitious in developing efficient infrastructure, fit for
purpose, and offering value for money.
“The world stands
to benefit greatly from better connectivity. However, at this
rate, airports and air traffic control will not be able to handle
demand. Governments and infrastructure operators must
strategically plan for the future. Decisions made now will have an
impact on the value created by aviation for their regions,” said
The increased demand to fly creates a
responsibility to expand in a sustainable manner. The aviation
industry remains committed to its goals of carbon-neutral growth
from 2020 onwards and cutting CO2 emissions to half 2005 levels by
“Commercial aviation is one of the only global industries to
take on such comprehensive environmental targets. With mandatory emissions reporting beginning on 1 January 2019 under the Carbon
Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), this will help rally the industry to invest in more fuel
efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels,” said de
Fastest growing aviation markets in
terms of annual additional O-D passengers from 2017 to 2037
(constant policies scenario):
* China: 1 billion new
passengers for a total of 1.6 billion* US: 481 million new
passengers for a total of 1.3 billion* India: 414 million new
passengers for a total of 572 million* Indonesia: 282 million
new passengers for a total of 411 million* Thailand: 116
million new passengers for a total of 214 million
Growth (‘constant policies’ scenario) in 2037
* Routes to,
from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 2.35 billion annual
passengers by 2037, for a total market size of 3.9 billion
passengers. Its CAGR of 4.8% is the highest, followed by Africa
and the Middle East.
* The North American region will grow by
a CAGR of 2.4% annually and in 2037 will carry a total of 1.4
billion passengers, an additional 527 million passengers.
Europe will grow at a CAGR of 2.0%, and will see an additional 611
million passengers. The total market will be 1.9 billion
* Latin American markets will grow by a CAGR of
3.6%, serving a total of 731 million passengers, an additional 371
million passengers annually compared to today.
* The Middle
East will grow strongly with a CAGR of 4.4% and will see an extra
290 million passengers on routes to, from and within the region by
2037. The total market size will be 501 million passengers.
Africa will grow by a CAGR of 4.6%. By 2037 it will see an extra
199 million passengers for a total market of 334 million
Asia Pacific Aviation Industry Update (October 2018).
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