More than 7.4bn passengers will travel by air in 2020 according to ACI traffic forecasts for 2005 to 2020 and passenger traffic will grow by over 4% per year through 2020 and air freight tonnage
will increase by 5.4%.
ACI Director General Robert J Aaronson said: ‘For airports this means that within 15 years we must be ready to provide excellent customer care for twice as many people. Clearly this growth impacts airport capacity planning.’
ACI said that the worldwide forecasts are based on data collected in early 2005 from 273 ACI member airports, which represent 60% of global passenger traffic, from all regions.
Using what it describes as ‘an enhanced reporting model’, it adds that this significant and representative data sample reported both short term forecasts for the next three years and long term projections. Taking into account airport and airspace capacity issues, the results of this reality based method show that by 2020 passenger demand would surpass available airport infrastructure by about 1bn passengers, resulting in heavy congestion and a general deterioration in the quality of service at airports.
‘This is a warning flag that must not be ignored,’ says Aaronson. ‘Although ACI members built new capacity at a record rate in 2004, spending over $31bn, those efforts are simply not enough. Regulatory, political and environmental barriers to building new infrastructure could stifle the air transport industry, just as it returns to a vibrant pattern of growth after the worst slump in its history. Therefore it is urgent for governments to create a regulatory environment that creates commercial incentives for accelerated construction of new airport and air traffic control infrastructure.’