Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Air passenger traffic to reach 19.7B by 2040—ACI forecast

Global air passenger traffic is projected to grow 3.7% annually and reach 19.7 billion by 2040, with China set to become the largest passenger market, according to Airports Council International (ACI) in its annual air traffic outlook.

In 2018, global passenger traffic reached 8.8 billion, and it is forecast to double by 2037, says the World Airport Traffic Forecasts published October 29 by ACI. Over the long term, it is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.7%, reaching 19.7 billion by 2040.

China is projected to become the largest passenger market in 2031 and then to dominate passenger rankings in 2040, with more than 3.5 billion passengers, or an 18% share of the global passenger traffic market.

The US and India will follow, with 2.9 billion and 1.3 billion passengers, respectively. Together, the three countries will handle almost 40% of global passenger traffic.

Indonesia, currently the tenth largest market in terms of total passenger traffic worldwide, is expected to rapidly climb in the country rankings, reaching the fourth position by 2036.

In meeting this strong demand, the airport industry faces a balancing act, said ACI. Airport operators already face capacity constraints and the predicament of surging air transport demand outstripping available airport infrastructure. At the same time, the industry must contend with increased protectionism, isolationism, and risks associated with climate change that could stifle this growth.

“There is no doubt that the future of the industry is positive with ACI’s forecasts showing passenger traffic worldwide is expected to double to more than 17 billion by 2037,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said.

“In the short term, however isolationist policies have fuelled a retraction from decades of progress toward greater global economic integration which will inevitably restrain the efficient flow of people, goods and services.

“While it is evident air transport very much relies on open markets to grow, it is also evident that, in markets with strong air transport demand, airport operators already face capacity constraints that could limit growth.

She urges taking action to address this growing infrastructure gap. “Given that more than 200 airports already require slot coordination because they have insufficient capacity to meet demand, government regulators must come together with the aviation industry to ensure that existing capacity can be better utilized while facilitating new and improved infrastructure to improve efficiency and the passenger experience,” said Gittens.

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