Air transport will nearly double in volume by 2036, according to the latest forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
It expects 7.8 billion passengers to travel in 2036, a near doubling of the 4 billion air travellers expected to fly this year.
“All indicators lead to growing demand for global connectivity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The world needs to prepare for a doubling of passengers in the next 20 years. It’s fantastic news for innovation and prosperity, which is driven by air links. It is also a huge challenge for governments and industry to ensure we can successfully meet this essential demand.”
The biggest driver of demand will be the Asia-Pacific region. The region will be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next two decades. The point at which China will displace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the country) has moved two years closer since last year’s forecast.
IATA now anticipates this will occur around 2022, through a combination of slightly faster Chinese growth and slightly reduced growth in the US. The UK will fall to fifth place, surpassed by India in 2025, and Indonesia in 2030. Thailand and Turkey will enter the top ten largest markets, while France and Italy will fall in the rankings to 11th and 12th respectively.
Planning for growth
Runways, terminals, and ground access to airports will come under increasing strain. Innovative solutions to these challenges, as well as to the baggage and security processes, cargo handling, and other activities, will also be needed. And air traffic management needs urgent reform to cut delays, costs and emissions.
“Increasing demand will bring a significant infrastructure challenge. The solution does not lie in more complex processes or building bigger and bigger airports but in harnessing the power of new technology to move activity off-airport, streamline processes and improve efficiency. Through partnerships within the industry and beyond, we are confident that sustainable solutions for continued growth can be found,” said de Juniac.
The IATA 20-year Passenger Forecast is developed by IATA and Tourism Economics.
>> Interested in a career in aviation? Visit Aerospace Careers Zone in London on 4 November. More here