The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a new forecast suggesting air passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037.
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 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), leading to a doubling in passenger numbers from today’s levels.
The Association 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.
Eastward Shift in Aviation’s Center of Gravity Continues
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 long term.
India will take third place after the U.S., 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.
Thailand is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030, replacing Italy, which drops out of the ranking.