It won’t be long before China sees more inbound and outbound air passengers than any other country. And yet another organization agrees with the prediction.
China’s aviation industry has achieved rapid growth in recent years, and there are projections from sources like Boeing that the country will continue to drive the industry over the next 20 years, with increased demand for aircraft and pilots. To add to the rosy forecasts of Chinese air travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that China will overtake the U.S. as the top aviation market–which the association defines as air traffic to, from and within the country–in the next seven years.
China is already the no. 2 aviation market in the world, and it is expected to overtake the U.S. for the top spot in seven years
Overall, the IATA, which published its report on Wednesday, predicts that air passenger trips will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5 percent over the next 20 years, and that growth will be buoyed by the Asia-Pacific region, in particular China. The North America and European markets will experience the slowest worldwide CAGRs in the period at 2.4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. However, the growth rate for the next few years may slow in China as economic pressure, including the depreciation of the yuan, could push some Chinese tourists to travel less frequently.
China will be an important driver of air passenger growth in the Asia-Pacific region
Growth rates outside of China will also be influenced by Chinese outbound tourists as they seek new destinations to explore. As these tourists look to experience smaller destinations away from major hubs, smaller domestic and regional airlines will need to add flights to their schedules, Business World reported last month.
The IATA stated that the driving force behind China’s rise to the top of the aviation industry is “The rebalancing of China’s economy towards consumption[, which] will support strong passenger demand over the long term.”
The report noted that between 2017 and 2037, China will introduce a billion new origin and destination passengers to air travel, bringing the total to 1.6 billion passenger trips. To put that in perspective, the IATA said the Asia-Pacific region will add 2.35 billion annual passengers over the next 20 years. Earlier this year, Routesonline predicted that Chinese airlines alone would carry 600 million passengers in 2018, up from 589 million in 2017.