More airline passengers will be flying in 2037 than currently live on the planet, according to the latest prediction by a major aviation industry group.
The International Air Transport Association predicts in its latest report that the number of people flying will double to 8.2 billion by 2037.
The current population of the Earth is 7.7 billion.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) anticipates in its 30-year passenger forecast that passenger numbers will grow at a compound annual rate of 3.5 percent driven by growth in the Asia-Pacific.
The Asia-Pacific region will drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets.
Growth in this market is being driven by a combination of continued robust economic growth, improvements in household incomes and favorable population and demographic profiles.
But the association warned that growth prospects for air transport and the economic benefits driven by aviation could be curtailed if protectionist measures are implemented by governments.
“Aviation is growing, and that is generating huge benefits for the world,” said IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac.
“ A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally.
“There are two important things that stand out about this year’s forecast.
“Firstly, we are seeing a geographical reshuffling of world air traffic to the East.
“And secondly, we foresee a significant negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented,”
Among the changes:
China will displace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the country) in the mid-2020s. The rebalancing of China’s economy towards consumption will support strong passenger demand over the long term.
Secondly, India will take 3rd place after the US, surpassing the UK around 2024.
Thirdly Indonesia is forecast to be a standout performer—climbing from the world’s 10th largest aviation market in 2017 to the 4th largest by 2030.
And Thailand is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030, replacing Italy which drops out of the ranking.