Air traffic - passenger growth rates forecast 2019-2038

The graph depicts the projected annual growth rates for passenger and cargo air traffic from 2019 to 2038, broken down by region. By 2038, revenue passenger kilometers in Africa are expected to grow by 5.9 percent.

Forecast - passenger and air cargo traffic

As a result of increasingly affordable flight rates and cheaper oil prices, passenger and cargo air traffic are estimated to grow substantially through 2038. Africa is the region where passenger air traffic is expected to experience the highest growth rate. Between 2019 and 2038, the airline industry is projected to increase its carriers' revenue passenger kilometers by about 4.6 percent. Commercial airlines stand to greatly benefit from the increased passenger demand in global air traffic. In 2018, there was a predicted 7.4 percent growth in global air traffic passenger demand. The same year, commercial airlines worldwide generated combined revenue of 812 billion U.S. dollars. The United States is home to the world’s busiest airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (IATA:ATL) enplaned more than 52.26 million passengers in 2018. Surprisingly, the United States scored a mere 5.9 in the 2018 air traffic infrastructure quality ranking published by the World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, Singapore’s air traffic infrastructure received a rating of 6.7 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest rating possible.

Estimated annual growth rates for passenger air traffic from 2019 to 2038, by region*

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Values are based on revenue passenger kilometers.

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