By Benét J. Wilson / Published October 20th, 2014
World passenger numbers are expected to reach 7.3 billion by 2034, with annual average growth of 4.1 percent, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) first-ever 20-year passenger growth forecast. Numbers are expected to be double that of the 3.3. billion passengers who will travel in 2014.
The new report, from the new IATA Passenger Forecasting service and partner Tourism Economics, analyzes passenger flows across 4,000 country pairs for the next 20 years by using three key demand drivers: living standards, population and demographics, and price and availability.
Despite China passing the U.S. in passengers, both markets are expected to remain the largest by a wide margin. In 2034, flights to, from and within China will account for some 1.3 billion passengers, 856 million more than 2014 with an average annual growth rate of 5.5 percent.
The United States will remain the largest air passenger market until around 2030, when it will drop to number two, behind China. Cumulatively over the next 20 years the U.S. will carry 18.3 billion more passengers and China 16.9 billion.
India, currently the ninth-largest market, will reach 367 million passengers by 2034, up 266 million annual passengers compared to 2014. It will overtake the United Kingdom, which will have 148 million extra passengers and a total market of 337 million, making it the third-largest market around 2031.
Brazil will increase passenger numbers by 170 million and rise from tenth to fifth, for a total market of 272 million passengers. Indonesia will enter the top ten around 2020 and reach sixth place by 2029. By 2034, it will be a market of 270 million passengers.
Reflecting a declining and aging population, Japan’s air passenger numbers will grow by only 1.3 percent per year and drop from the fourth-largest market in 2014 to the ninth-largest by 2033. Germany and Spain will decline from their fifth and sixth positions, respectively, in 2014 to be the eighth and seventh largest markets. France will fall from seventh to tenth while Italy will fall out of the top 10 in around 2019.
Broken down by regions, the report found that routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 1.8 billion annual passengers by 2034, for an overall market size of 2.9 billion. North America will grow by 3.3 percent annually and in 2034 will carry 1.4 billion passengers, while Europe will have the slowest growth rate, at 2.7 percent, but will still handle an additional 591 million passengers a year for a total market of 1.4 billion passengers.
Latin American markets will grow by 4.7 percent, serving a total of 605 million passengers, an additional 363 million passengers annually compared to 2014. The Middle East will grow strongly by 4.9 percent and will see an extra 237 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2034. Finally, Africawill grow by 4.7 percent, and by 2034, it will see an extra 177 million passengers a year for a total market of 294 million passengers.
At present, aviation helps sustain 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in economic activity. In 20 years’ time we can expect aviation to be supporting around 105 million jobs and $6 trillion in GDP,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO in a press release. “Meeting the potential demand will require government policies that support the economic benefits that growing connectivity makes possible. Airlines can only fly where there is infrastructure to accommodate them. People can only fly as long as ticket taxes don’t price them out of their seats. And air connectivity can only thrive when nations open their skies and their markets. It’s a virtuous circle.”
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