The future

The future
The contribution of the air transport industry in 20 years' time

Demand for air transport is expected to increase by an average of 3% per annum over the next 20 years. If this growth is achieved, by 2038 the air transport industry will contribute:

  • 13.7 million direct jobs and $1.7 trillion of GDP to the world economy
  • 76 million jobs, including indirect and induced contributions, and $4.3 trillion in GDP
  • Once the impact of global tourism is taken into account, the air transport industry will contribute 143 million jobs and $6.3 trillion GDP.
The impact of lower growth: a sensitivity analysis

These forecasts are based on the air transport sector growing at the predicted rate. However, looking ahead 20 years is naturally fraught with uncertainty, and unexpected political and economic events could throw these predictions of course.

If moves towards a more protectionist and fragmented world continue, there is likely to be a decline in air traffic, particularly international travel and air freight. Research into this scenario predicts slower growth in aviation activity, with an average annual growth rate in revenue passenger kilometres* of just 2.7% for the next 20 years.

If this more pessimistic scenario materialises, by 2038:

  • Globally there would be 227,000 fewer direct jobs and $78 billion less GDP in the air transport sector.
  • Taking into consideration the direct, indirect and induced impact, there would be 3.6 million fewer jobs and $200 billion less GDP supported by air transport.
  • Once tourism is included, the air transport sector would support 55 million fewer jobs and $293 billion less GDP than it otherwise would.

* Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) are measures of traffic, calculated by multiplying the number of revenue-paying passengers aboard a vehicle (for example a plane) by the distance travelled.