Advisory Bulletins

The trusted source for air travel demand updates

February 13, 2024

Montreal, 14 February 2024 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its first bi-annual air travel demand update of 2024, pulling data from over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories globally.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, global passenger volume was estimated to reach 10.5 billion passengers in 2023, or 119% of the 2019 level. The current projection of global passenger volume in 2023 is approximately 8.7 billion passengers, which is 95% of the 2019 level, or 31% year-on-year (YoY) growth from the 2022 volume.

* Estimated passenger traffic volumes are based on a broad range of inputs provided by ACI Regional offices and industry experts.
** The projected baseline (pre-COVID-19) scenario is based on a standard time-series forecast generated using the most up-to-date and complete historical data to Oct 2023. It also makes use of adjusted World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2019–2040 and considers the latest insights provided by ACI Regional offices and other inputs.

Source: ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023–2052

By October 2023 year-to-date (YTD), total passenger traffic rose by 28% YoY, reaching 93% of the October 2019 YTD level. While the domestic market grew by 21% YoY (or 97% of the 2019 level), the international market drove recovery with 38% YoY, reaching 88% of the 2019 level.

Source: ACI World

Global passenger traffic in 2024 is predicted to surpass the 2019 level for the first time since COVID-19, reaching 9.7 billion passengers or 106% of the 2019 level (12% YoY growth rate). The growth rate is expected to gradually decelerate in succeeding years, as more markets recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Macroeconomic factors, such as high global inflation, slowdown of global GDP, pessimistic business confidence levels, and geopolitical conflicts pose significant risks and uncertainties in future projections.

Source: ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023–2052

Regional highlights

  • Passenger traffic in the Africa region is estimated to reach 219 million passengers in 2023 and 242 million passengers in 2024, the latter surpassing the 2019 level (106% of 2019). The region is expected to reach 261 million in 2025.

  • The Asia-Pacific region is showing the largest passenger recovery in 2023, expected to reach close to 3 billion passengers. In 2024, the region will continue its growth, yet at a slower pace, and is expected to attain 3.5 billion or 103% of the 2019 level. In the current scenario, the region is forecasted to be near 3.9 billion passengers by the end of 2025.

  • In Europe, passenger traffic is estimated to be 2.3 billion passengers in 2023. In 2024 it is expected to be around 2.5 billion passengers. After recovering to pre-pandemic levels in the following year, passenger traffic is expected to reach 2.7 billion in 2025.

  • The Latin America-Caribbean region had its passenger traffic pass the 2019 level in 2023, reaching 740 million or nearly 108% of the 2019 level. In 2024, passenger traffic is expected to reach around 795 million passengers, and 849 million in 2025.

  • In the current scenario, the Middle East is expected to continue its growth from 422 million in 2023 to 466 million in 2024, and then 510 million in 2025. However, due to geopolitical tension in the region, the total passenger number may be lower than the current projection.

  • The North America region is estimated to reach 2.2 billion passengers or 104% of the 2019 level in 2024. The passenger traffic number is forecasted to further increase to 2.3 billion in 2025, returning to its pre-pandemic growth rate.

Long-term global passenger traffic (2016–2052)

Source: ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023–2052

From 2023 to 2042, total passenger traffic worldwide is predicted to grow at CAGR of 4.3%, with a steep recovery gradient observed in the first 3 years (9.1% CAGR for 2023 to 2026), then converging to the pre-COVID-19 growth rate (3.6% CAGR for 2023 to 2052). Global passenger traffic is expected to reach nearly 20 billion in 2042, double the 2024 projection.

In 2052, global passenger traffic is expected to reach close to 25 billion, approximately 2.5 times the 2024 projection.

Long-term international and domestic passenger traffic (2016–2052)

Source: ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023–2052

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international passenger market had more impact than the domestic passenger market due to international travel restrictions. The international passenger market has recovered significantly in 2023, expected to reach 3.5 billion with 42% YoY growth. In 2024, international passenger traffic is forecasted to be 4 billion with 14% YoY growth. Domestic passenger traffic is forecasted to be 5.2 billion in 2023 with 25% YoY growth, then slowing down to 5.7 billion in 2024 with 10% YoY growth.

Comparing long-term CAGRs, international passenger traffic is expected to steadily grow with a 5% CAGR between 2023 and 2042, while domestic passenger traffic is expected to have a 3.8% CAGR in the same period. In 2042, 45% of all passengers are projected to come from the international segment and 46% by 2052.

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, is a federated organization comprising ACI World, ACI Africa, ACI Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, ACI EUROPE, ACI Latin America and the Caribbean and ACI North America. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2024, ACI serves 757 members, operating 2109 airports in 191 countries.