The International Air Transport Association has released an industry traffic forecast showing airlines are expect to welcome some 3.6 billion passengers in 2016.
That is about 800 million more than the 2.8 billion passengers carried by airlines in 2011.
These figures are revealed in the IATA Airline Industry Forecast 2012-2016.
This industry consensus outlook for system-wide passenger growth sees passenger numbers expanding by an average of 5.3 per cent per annum between 2012 and 2016.
The 28.5 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the forecast period will see almost 500 million new passengers travelling on domestic routes and 331 million new passengers on international services.
International freight volumes will grow at three per cent per annum to total 34.5 million tonnes in 2016.
That is 4.8 million more tonnes of air cargo than the 29.6 million tonnes carried in 2011.
“Despite the current economic uncertainty, expected demand for connectivity remains strong.
“That’s good news for the global economy.
“Growing air transport links generate jobs and underpin economic growth in all economies.
“But exploiting these will require governments to recognize aviation’s value with policies that do not stifle innovation, tax regimes that do not punish success and investments to enable infrastructure to keep up with growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
Globally, aviation supports some 57 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity.
The emerging economies of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East will see the strongest passenger growth.
This will be led by routes within or connected to China, which are expected to account for 193 million of the 831 million new passengers over the forecast period (159 million on domestic routes and 34 million travelling internationally).
Passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) is expected to add around 380 million passengers over the forecast period.
Through 2016, the United States will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers (710.2 million).
In the same year, passengers on international routes connected to the United States will total 223 million, making it the largest single market for international travel as well.
Reflecting the maturity of the United States market, growth rates (2.6 per cent for domestic and 4.3 per cent for international) will be well below the international average (5.3 per cent for international travel and 5.2 per cent for domestic traffic).