11 July 2014 at 08.38 GMT
Aircraft manufacturers are gearing up to handle 7 billion passengers a year by 2033 by building five aircraft every day for the next 20 years.
Forecasters at Boeing predict the annual number of internal flights in China will have overtaken the domestic US market by that time.
The US manufacturer forecasts that the level of air travel will rise at 5% a year, easily outstripping global GDP growth, which is predicted to rise at 3.2% a year.
Meanwhile, the number of aircraft in operation will more than double from the present 20,910 to 42,180 in 2033.
Of the present fleet, a quarter are expected to still be in commission 20 years later.
At expected rates of demand that means Boeing and rival Airbus will be expecting to build 36,800 aircraft.
All those new aircraft at current list prices will cost the world’s airlines a total of $5.2 trillion. More than 25,000, or about 70%, are expected to be either Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s.
Boeing marketing vice president Randy Tinseth said the expected increase in passengers flying – 133% over 20 years from the current 3 billion – will outpace the expected production of aircraft.
But he said: “Technologically, the aircraft are more capable, flying longer hours, longer routes. The cost of flying has been reduced by better airline management.
“Smarter seat design giving the same comfort levels means you can get more seats on board.
“By 2033, aircraft will be 25% more capable than they are today. Without that technological development we would be needing to build 10,000 more aircraft [than the 36,800 expected].”
Within 20 years intra-North America flights will have not only been overtaken by the Asia Pacific domestic market but also by the Chinese internal market.
The Far East markets are expected to grow at about 6.5% a year compared with 2.3% in North America.
The intra-European market will become the fourth largest market – from third – and is expected to continue to rise by 3.5% a year.
The two single fastest-growing markets, though coming from much lower bases, are the Middle East to Asia-Pacific market, expected to rise by 7.4% as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha emerge as global hub airports; and the the Latin American market, where travel around the continent is expected to increase by 6.9%, the Times reported.
Sourced from Travel Weekly