by Michael J. Shapiro | December 11, 2013
Airlines expect passenger demand to increase nearly one-third (31 percent) by 2017, according to the International Air Transport Association's Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017. The carriers expect total passenger numbers to reach 3.91 billion by 2017, an increase of 930 million passengers over 2012. Of the new passengers, an estimated 292 million will travel internationally while about 638 million will be on domestic routes. The highest compound annual growth rates should be seen in the Middle East (6.3 percent) and Asia-Pacific (5.7 percent), followed by Africa (5.3 percent) and Latin America (4.5 percent). According to the report, the largest driver of growth will be routes within or connected to China, which will account for nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the rise in passengers in the next four years. Around 300 million additional passengers during the period will be from the Asia-Pacific region, with three-quarters of them traveling domestically. The United States, meanwhile, will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers, with 677.8 million through 2017, although it will have a growth rate of just 2.2 percent. China is in second place, with 487.9 million domestic passengers and a growth rate of 10.2 percent. By 2017, the U.S. should surpass Germany in international traveler volume, as it climbs to 177.5 million (3.5 percent compound annual growth).