Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have predicted that the number of airline passengers flying in the United States will increase 3.5 percent this year, and that the trend will continue with over one billion passengers traveling on US airliners by the year 2021. This updated forecast predicts that number will be reached two years sooner than previously projected.
The FAA published its annual travel forecast on Tuesday in a report that covers the next 20 years and predicts a 5% per year increase in both passenger and freight traffic during that time period. This report also agrees with similar forecasts made by Boeing, Airbus and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The IATA most recently predicted that air traffic will rise by nearly one-third and said that 3.3 billion air travelers will be flying worldwide by the year 2014.
The FAA reported that it anticipates that international travel will expand more quickly than domestic travel, but that the U.S. airlines will fly 7.8 percent more of the international passenger traffic. The FAA says that the present trend should continue through the year 2031.
The FAA also predicted that passengers flying on major U.S. airlines will face fare increases of approximately 2 percent when flying domestically and up to 5 percent more for international trips this year than last year. The FAA forecasting models show, however, that fares will decrease to some extent over the long term.