The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 7.8 billion passengers to travel in 2036, a near doubling of the 4 billion air travelers expected to fly this year.
The prediction is based on a 3.6 per cent average Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) noted in the release of the latest update to the association's 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.
"All indicators lead to growing demand for global connectivity. The world needs to prepare for a doubling of passengers in the next 20 years. It's fantastic news for innovation and prosperity, which is driven by air links. It is also a huge challenge for governments and industry to ensure we can successfully meet this essential demand," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
The biggest driver of demand will be the Asia-Pacific region. The region will be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next two decades. The point at which China will displace the United States as the world's largest aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the country) has moved two years closer since last year's forecast. We now anticipate this will occur around 2022, through a combination of slightly faster Chinese growth and slightly reduced growth in the US. The UK will fall to fifth place, surpassed by India in 2025, and Indonesia in 2030. Thailand and Turkey will enter the top ten largest markets, while France and Italy will fall in the rankings to 11th and 12th respectively.