A new global aviation report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected that China will become the world’s largest passenger market (defined by traffic to, from and within) by 2030, overtaking US which is currently on the lead. The report however maintains that the United States will remain the largest air passenger market until around 2030.
According to the 20-year passenger growth forecast, which is the first of its kind from the new IATA Passenger Forecasting Service, 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%. Traffic to, from and within the US is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 3.2% that will see 1.2 billion passengers by 2034 (559 million more than 2014).
The report projects that passenger numbers are expected to reach 7.3 billion by 2034, which represents a 4.1% average annual growth in demand for air connectivity that will result in more than a doubling of the 3.3 billion passengers expected to travel this year.
AFRICAN MARKETS EMERGING
In the next 20 years, Africa will consist majority of the fastest-growing markets in percentage terms with eight of the ten countries listed being from the continent. Routes to, from Africa will grow by 4.7% and by 2034, the region will have an additional 177 million passengers a year for a total market of 294 million passengers.
Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burundi and Kuwait are projected to be the five fastest-growing markets.
MORE JOB OPPORTUNITIES
According to Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, “In 20 years’ time we can expect aviation to be supporting around 105 million jobs and $6 trillion in GDP,” from the current 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in economic activity.
Tyler however called on all the aviation stakeholders and especially governments to play their role, if these projections are to be actualized.
“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. Growing connectivity stimulates economies. And healthy economies demand greater connectivity. The message of this forecast is that there is great potential if all aviation stakeholders—including governments—play their role,” said Tyler.