An ailing global economy and weaker China forecasts are the reasons the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cited on Thursday, for cutting its long-term growth forecast for the number of air passengers around the world.
According to IATA’s projections, it now expects the number of air passengers to double to 7 billion by 2034 — from the 3.5 billion expected for 2015, with a 3.8 percent average annual growth rate. It had initially estimated 7.4 billion passengers in 2034 based on a 4.1 percent average annual growth rate.
“Economic and political events over the last year have impacted some of the fundamentals for growth. As a result, we expect some 400 million fewer people to be traveling in 2034 than we did at this time last year,” IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said.
IATA says the revised result reflects negative developments in the global economy that are expected to dampen demand for air transport.
“The economic impact of 400 million fewer travelers is significant. Each is a lost opportunity to explore, create social and cultural value, and generate economic and employment opportunities. It is important that we don’t create additional headwinds with excessive taxation, onerous regulation or infrastructure deficiencies,” Mr Tyler added.
Meanwhile, the five fastest-increasing markets in terms of additional passengers per year will be China (758 million new passengers), the US (523 million new passengers), India (275 million new passengers), Indonesia (132 million new passengers) and Brazil (104 million new passengers).
The top 10 fastest-growing markets will be Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Serbia, Tanzania, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Vietnam, expected to grow by 7-8 percent each year on average over the next 20 years.
As for trends? China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest passenger market by 2029, accounting for some 1.19 billion passengers in 2034. India will displace the United Kingdom as the third-largest market in 2026, with Indonesia rising to number 5 in the world. Japan, Spain, Germany and France fall relative to their competitors, Italy falls out of the top 10, while Brazil moves from 10th place to 7th.