Demand for global air travel is forecast to soar by more than 30% with 930 million more passengers flying by 2017.

The projection from Iata will see total annual numbers increase to 3.91 billion against the 2.98 billion carried in 2012.

Demand is expected to expand by an average of 5.4% compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2017 compared to 4.3% between 2008 and 2012, largely reflecting the negative impact of the 2008 global financial crisis and recession, Iata estimates.

About 292 million of the new passengers will be carried on international routes – bringing the total to 1.5 billion – and 638 million on domestic services to give a total of around 2.46 billion.

The emerging economies of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific will see the strongest international passenger growth with gains of 6.3% and 5.7%, followed by Africa and Latin America with growth of 5.3% and 4.5%.

Routes within or connected to China will be the single largest driver of growth, accounting for 30% of new passengers during the forecast period.

The Asia-Pacific region, including China, is expected to add around 300 million additional passengers by the end of the current forecast period. Of these, around 225 million or 75% are expected to be domestic passengers.

With 677.8 million domestic passengers in 2017, the US will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers.

Uzbekistan has displaced Kazakhstan as the fastest-growing market for international passenger traffic, according to Iata. They are followed by Russia, Turkey, Oman, China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan. No Latin American or African countries are among the fastest growing markets. 


Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “The fact that the Asia-Pacific region – led by China – and the Middle East will deliver the strongest growth over the forecast period is not surprising.

“Governments in both areas recognise the value of the connectivity provided by aviation to drive global trade and development.

“Similar opportunities exist for developing regions in Africa and Latin America. To reap the benefit, governments in those regions will need to change their view of aviation from a luxury cash cow to a utilitarian powerful draft horse to pull the economy forward.”