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ACI NEWS Last modified on September 26, 2016

ACI reveals that global passenger numbers to treble by 2040

Over 2,200 delegates and 263 exhibitors from 63 nations at the joint ACI-NA Annual Conference/ACI World Assembly, Conference and Exhibition ensured that Civil Aviation Week got off to a great start in Montréal today.

It also gave ACI World the opportunity to unveil its latest traffic forecast that predicts that global passenger numbers will double to 14.6 billion per annum by 2029 and soar to 23.6 billion by 2040.

The upturn is based on an annual global traffic growth of 5.2% to 2040 with the upturn driven by international traffic, which ACI predicts will outnumber domestic passenger numbers from 2028.

Indeed the report, which covers the short (2016-2018), medium (2016-2020) and long-term (2016-2040), states that international passenger traffic will be 1.42 times greater than domestic passenger volumes by 2040.

Talking about the importance of the data contained in The World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF), ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, noted: “Air transport forecasts are a crucial element in airport planning and for the determination of future capacity requirements.

“Because infrastructure projects are costly and often disruptive, a data-driven understanding of future demand– such as the expected number of aircraft movements, passenger traffic throughput and air cargo volumes – gives airport planners and investors the necessary information for effective decision making.
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“Irrespective of short-term fluctuations in the business cycle, future growth in air transport demand will originate to a large extent from emerging markets.

“Large population bases and increases in per-capita incomes in these markets are major forces driving this demand. At the same time, micro-economic factors, which include heightened competition across the aviation sector and the increased presence of the ‘no-frills low cost’ business model among air carriers, will continue to stimulate demand with lower airfares.

“However, there are several impediments that could curtail the continued rise in demand, potentially hampering growth prospects over the short- and medium-term.

“Specifically, these are related to geo-political unrest, terrorism and threats to security in certain parts of the world. Physical capacity considerations and potential bottlenecks in air transport infrastructure also pose challenges in accommodating future air transport demand.

“Finally, protectionist policies that retreat from further economic integration and air transport liberalisation could contract air service demand.”

With respect to cargo, Gittens advised that, the “weakened” global economy and a sluggish global trade environment were definite deterrents to growth in air cargo volumes.

“There also continues to be a structural substitution effect in the delivery of goods across modes of transport, even in the face of strong economic fundamentals,” she added.


“While the shipment of raw materials and perishables have been affected the most by a move away from air cargo services to ocean freight, the modal shift can also be seen in shipments of high-tech and machinery parts.

“The largest trade flow from Asia has experienced the weightiest shift away from air cargo. Thus, in the short to medium terms, global air cargo volumes are expected to increase modestly, in the realm of 2.4% on annualised basis up to 2025.”


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