IATA Downgrades Forecast For Long-Term Air Travel Demand

Open Jaw

IATA has released an updated passenger growth forecast for the next 2 decades, and the outlook is a little dimmer than it was previously.

The airline organization is now projecting that pax numbers will reach 7 billion by 2034 with a 3.8% average annual growth in demand (2014 baseline year).

While that is more than double the 3.3 billion who flew in 2014 and exactly twice as many as the 3.5 billion expected in 2015, it’s also a downgrade from an earlier prediction of 7.4 billion travellers and 4.1% annual growth.

IATA says the revised result reflects negative developments in the global economy that are expected to dampen demand for air transport, especially slower economic growth projections for China.

The five fastest-increasing markets in terms of additional pax per year over the forecast period will be China (758 million new pax for a total of 1.196 billion), the U.S. (523 million new pax for a total of 1.156 billion), India (275 million new pax for a total of 378 million), Indonesia (132 million new pax for a total of 219 million) and Brazil (104 million new pax for a total of 202 million.

Other interesting tidbits from the IATA forecast:

  • 7 of the 10 fastest-growing markets in percentage terms will be in Africa. Each of these markets is expected to grow by 7-8% each year on average over the next 20 years, doubling in size each decade. The top ten will be: Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Serbia, Tanzania, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Vietnam

  • In terms of routes, Asian, South American and African destinations will see the fastest growth, reflecting economic and demographic growth in those markets.

“The demand for air transport continues to grow. There is much work to be done to prepare for the 7 billion passengers expected to take the skies in 2034,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General & CEO.

On the downside, Tyler said: “Economic and political events over the last year have impacted some of the fundamentals for growth. As a result, we expect some 400 million fewer people to be traveling in 2034 than we did at this time last year.” 

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