Passenger growth to double by 2035 – IATA
The number of people flying by air will double by 2035, according to the latest estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which said it expects to see 7.2 billion passengers to travel by air in 2035, a near doubling of the 3.8 billion air travellers in 2016. The global trade group said the prediction is based on a 3.7 percent annual compound average growth rate (CAGR).
"People want to fly. Demand for air travel over the next two decades is set to double. Enabling people and nations to trade, explore, and share the benefits of innovation and economic prosperity makes our world a better place," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO in the group’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast.
As in the past, Asia-Pacific will be the “biggest driver of demand”, the IATA said, with the region expected to account for more than half of the new passengers during that period. The group said China will overtake the US as the world’s largest aviation market (defined by traffic to, from and within the country) by around 2029. India will displace the UK for third place in 2026, while Indonesia enters the top 10 at the expense of Italy. “Growth will also increasingly be driven within developing markets,” the IATA said. “Over the past decade the developing world’s share of total passenger traffic has risen from 24 percent to nearly 40 percent.”
The IATA said the forecast contained three scenarios. “The central scenario foresees a doubling of passengers with a 3.7 percent annual CAGR. If trade liberalisation gathers pace, demand could triple the 2015 level. Conversely, if the current trend towards trade protectionism gathers strength, growth could cool to 2.5 percent annual CAGR which would see passenger numbers reach 5.8 billion by 2035,” the IATA said.
"Economic growth is the only durable solution for the world’s current economic woes. Yet we see governments raising barriers to trade rather than making it easier. If this continues in the long-term, it will mean slower growth and the world will be poorer for it. For aviation, the protectionist scenario could see growth slowing to as low as 2.5 percent annually. Not only will that mean fewer new aviation jobs, it will mean that instead of 7.2 billion travellers in 2035, we will have 5.8 billion. The economic impact of that will be broad and hard-felt," said de Juniac.
The main impact of this growth, no matter which scenario comes to fruition, is that infrastructure in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere will feel the pressure.
"Runways, terminals, security and baggage systems, air traffic control, and a whole raft of other elements need to be expanded to be ready for the growing number of flyers. It cannot be done by the industry alone. Planning for change requires governments, communities and the industry working together in partnership," said de Juniac.
IATA said in its report that the five fastest-growing markets in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period will be:
• China (817 million new passengers for a total of 1.3 billion)
• US (484 million new passengers for a total of 1.1 billion)
• India (322 million new passengers for a total of 442 million)
• Indonesia (135 million new passengers for a total of 242 million)
• Vietnam (112 million new passengers for a total of 150 million).
The IATA also said routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 1.8 billion annual passengers by 2035, for an overall market size of 3.1 billion. Its annual average growth rate of 4.7 percent will be the second-highest, behind the Middle East.