Global air traffic - annual growth of passenger demand 2006-2020

This statistic represents the annual growth in global air traffic passenger demand between 2006 and 2020. In 2019, global air traffic passenger demand is estimated to increase by 4.2 percent on the year before. By 2020, traffic is projected to grow with another 4.1 percent.

Annual growth in global air traffic passenger demand

On a global scale, passenger air travel is expected to maintain positive growth rates up to 2030, despite a number of challenges faced by the industry: airlines around the world are struggling with high jet fuel prices and sluggish economic growth. However, these difficult economic conditions are predicted to be offset by an increase in passenger figures, which in turn is projected to translate into improved financial performance of the airline sector. It is believed that the global aviation industry will reach up to 29.3 billion U.S. dollars in profits in 2020, up from only 8.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. Between 2019 and 2038, the number of airline passengers is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6 percent.

Low-cost carriers and regional airlines have revolutionized the airline business with the introduction of innovative low-fare business models. Notwithstanding the fact that airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair have steadily eaten into the market share of major transportation companies. American Airlines remained the leading airline in terms of passenger kilometers flown in 2018, followed by Georgia-based Delta Air Lines, United and Emirates Airlines.

Aviation demand is set to be fuelled by the rising affluence of the middle classes in emerging markets. Consequently, the air traffic industry is forecast to grow most significantly in Latin America and Africa. In 2018, the airports in Atlanta (IATA: ATL), Beijing (IATA: PEK) and Dubai (IATA: DXB) were ranked as the three major airports for passenger traffic.

Annual growth in global air traffic passenger demand from 2006 to 2020

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

2006 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Data based on revenue passenger kilometers.
*2019 figure is an estimate.
**2020 figure is a forecast.
Figures prior to 2014 taken from previous reports.

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