China to overtake USA as biggest air passenger market by 2030
The International Air Transport Association has released its first 20-year passenger growth forecast, projecting that passenger numbers will 7.3 billion by 2034. That represents a 4.1% average annual growth in demand for air connectivity – and more than a doubling of the 3.3 billion passengers expected to travel this year.
Among the highlights of the report is the expectation that China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest air passenger market by 2030. Both markets are expected to remain the biggest by a wide margin.
In 2034, flights to, from and within China will account for 1.3 billion passengers, 856 million more than in 2014, with an average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Traffic to, from and within the US is expected to grow at an average rate of 3.2% per year, with 1.2 billion passengers by 2034 (559 million more than 2014).
The five fastest increasing markets in terms of additional passengers per year will be China (856 million new passengers per year), the US (559mn), India (266mn), Indonesia (183mn) and Brazil (170mn). Eight of the ten fastest-growing markets in percentage terms will be in Africa with Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burundi and Kuwait making up the five fastest-growing markets, the report predicts.
Currently the ninth largest market, India will see 367 million passengers by 2034. It will overtake the United Kingdom (148 million extra passengers, total market 337 million) to become the third largest market around 2031.
Reflecting a declining and ageing population, Japanese air passenger numbers will grow just 1.3% per year and decline from the fourth largest market in 2014 to the ninth largest by 2033. Germany and Spain will decline from fifth and sixth in 2014 to be the eighth and seventh largest markets, respectively. France will fall from 7th to 10th, while Italy will fall out of the top 10 altogether in around 2019.
[pictured: Himalayan mountains near K2; photo by Pipimaru]