LONDON – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is forecasting up to 8.2 billion passengers will be handled per year by 2037. According to an update in the organization’s 20-Year Air Passenger forecast, there is increasing demand Eastwards due to continued population growth.

This 8.2 billion figure is from the forecast anticipating a 3.5% compound annual growth rate in the next 20 years, leading to doubling passenger numbers from current levels.

IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, stated that this is because “Aviation is growing, and that is generating huge benefits for the world”.

De Juniac continued by saying that up to 100 million jobs could be supported in the aviation industry by 2037.

He continued with a “however” scenario, stating that IATA foresees “a significant negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented”.

Growth Per Continent

IATA also released regional growth statistics for 2037 per continent. They are as follows:

Asia-Pacific – This market will see an extra 2.35 billion annual passengers by 2037 for a total market size of 3.9 billion passengers.

North America – 1.4 billion passengers expected to fly within this region, which represents a 527 million passenger increase.

Europe – This market, through Low-cost carrier presence will see an additional 611 million passengers, with total market growth of 1.9 billion.

Latin America – Up to 731 million passengers will be served by 2037, offering an increase of 371 million compared to today.

Middle East – An extra 290 million passengers will use the region by 2037, with the total market size becoming as large as 501 million.

Africa – An extra 199 million passengers will use the African continent, offering a total market of 334 million in total.

It seems that however volatile the aviation industry is, passenger numbers are only showing positive trends.

Whether this number will steady off beyond the 2037 point remains unclear, but it seems likely it will not be the case.

Affordability Increases Traffic

Air travel is also becoming more affordable thanks to the low-cost carriers offering significantly cheaper fares compared to legacy carriers.

In Europe, for example, the likes of Ryanair are establishing bases in numerous countries. It is the same for other LCC’s around the world. The cheaper it is, the more influential effect it will have on passengers to go abroad and beyond. 

It will be interesting to see whether this forecast increases or not, especially based on the significant growth the industry is receiving at the moment.

But all eyes will be on the protectionist states to see if that level of policy will be reduced or whether it will be increased.