Press Releases

Top 20 markets for air travel demand forecast according to latest ACI World data

February 14, 2024

ACI World releases its flagship World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2023–2052

Montreal, 14 February 2023 – Airports Council International (ACI) World today releases the annual World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023¬–2052 dataset, showing the Top 20 markets for air travel demand among other key air traffic findings.

The latest WATF extends its horizon by an impressive 10 years, offering a comprehensive 30-year perspective on airport traffic forecasts at global, regional, and country levels. The flagship resource covers data sourced from 141 countries, introducing 29 new countries, to provide granular forecasts for passengers, air cargo volumes (in metric tonnes) and aircraft movements.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “The projections indicate that global passenger traffic is set to reach 9.7 billion by the end of 2024, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, and suggest a doubling by 2042 and a 2.5-fold increase by 2052. In the long-term, the global passenger market dynamic is expected to transition from advanced economies towards emerging and developing ones as they experience significant urbanization and population increases, often combined with rapid economic growth favourably impacting their disposable income and willingness to travel. Investing responsibly in current and new infrastructure remains key to ensuring that we can sustainably meet capacity growth to maximize the social and economic benefits of aviation.”

Highlights from WATF Executive Summary include:

• By the end of 2024, global passenger traffic is expected to reach 9.7 billion, surpassing the 2019 level for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Global passenger traffic is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% from 2023 to 2042 and 3.6% from 2042 to 2052.

• Global passenger numbers are forecasted to approximately double from 2024 to 2042 and to be 2.5 times higher in 2052.

• By 2024, international passenger traffic is forecasted to approach the 4 billion mark, with domestic passenger traffic reaching 5.7 billion.

• Looking ahead to 2042, international passenger traffic is expected to reach 8.7 billion and domestic passenger traffic to attain 10.6 billion.

• In the long-term, the global passenger market dynamic is expected to shift, transitioning from advanced economies towards emerging and developing economies.

• Between 2023 and 2042, advanced economies are expected to have a CAGR of 3.2% for total passenger traffic, whereas emerging and developing economies are expected to have a more robust CAGR of 5.4%.

• Sizeable population bases and rapid rises in incomes in emerging markets are the main economic engines driving air transportation demand.

Top 20 markets by total passenger traffic forecast

Along with the WATF, ACI World has issued its first bi-annual air travel demand update of 2024, “ACI World Advisory Bulletin: The most trusted source for air travel demand updates.

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, 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.

Editor notes

  1. Access the ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF) 2023–2052 Dataset.
  2. Download the complimentary WATF Executive Summary.
  3. Read the ACI World Advisory Bulletin: The most trusted source for air travel demand updates.

Media Contacts

Sabrina Guerrieri
Director, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254
Email: mediarelations@aci.aero