Emerging economies to drive global growth

Accurate forecasting of future air service demand is crucial for airports for planning their capacity requirements‭. ‬As the infrastructure projects are costly and often disruptive‭, ‬a data-driven understanding of future demand—such as the expected number of aircraft movements‭, ‬passenger traffic throughput‭, ‬and air cargo volumes—‭ ‬is required for effective decision making‭.‬

Toward this end‭, ‬the Airports Council International‭ (‬ACI‭) ‬World has been at the forefront of publishing data‭. ‬It has come out with latest edition of the World Airport Traffic Forecasts‭ (‬WATF‭) ‬which covers over 100‭ ‬countries‭, ‬including economic grouping like BRICS‭, ‬G7‭ ‬and MINT‭, ‬and presents detailed metrics for passenger‭, ‬cargo and aircraft movements up to 2040‭.  ‬

The study forecasts passenger traffic doubling by 2034‭, ‬growing from 8.3‭ ‬billion total passengers today to 17‭ ‬billion in 2034‭ ‬and almost 21‭ ‬billion by 2040‭ - ‬a projected growth rate of 4.3‭ ‬per cent annually‭. ‬The prospects for growth in the passenger market‭ ‬over the short‭, ‬medium and long term‭, ‬remain robust‭. ‬China is predicted to become the largest passenger market with just under‭ ‬four billion passengers which will represent a 19‭ ‬per cent share of the global passenger traffic market‭. ‬

In 2040‭, ‬an estimated 20‭ ‬per cent of all air cargo will be handled in the US‭. ‬China and the UAE‭, ‬predicted to be the second and‭ ‬third largest markets‭, ‬will together handle another fifth of the 203.4‭ ‬million tonnes of global air cargo volumes‭.  ‬The surging‭ ‬air transport demand threatens to outstrip the current and planned airport infrastructure in many regions around the world‭. ‬

These physical capacity considerations and potential bottlenecks in air transport infrastructure pose challenges to the global industry in accommodating the strong forecast future demand‭. ‬Geopolitical tensions and protectionist policies that retreat from further economic integration and air transport liberalization could also have an adverse effect‭. ‬The industry must come together‭ ‬to respond to these challenges and help to ensure communities continue to reap the social and economic benefits of air service growth‭. ‬Policy at a national and global level should be focused on facilitating sustainable growth over the long term‭.‬


Angela Gittens   Director General, ACI World

Angela Gittens

Director General, ACI World

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