The global aviation market is witnessing an apparent eastward trend as the Asia-Pacific market is set to maintain growth, with China as the major impetus.
The global air passenger volume could double from the current level to 8.2 billion in 2037, with an increasing "eastwards" shift, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
CHINA IS KEY
"We forecast that over the next twenty years, China's annual market growth will be, on average, around five percent," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.
"China has seen double-digit growth over the past decades in the domestic civil aviation market," he told Xinhua at a telephone press conference for the forecast.
Alongside China rebalancing its economy towards consumption, air traffic to, from, and within the country is set to continuously grow over the long term, according to the IATA.
"China is the most exciting and dynamic market in the world. The continuous growth in its economy and middle class sustains the country's upward civil aviation market," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of commercial marketing for the Boeing Company.
China is forecast to become the world's largest aviation market by the mid-2020s, around 2024 to 2025, said the forecast.
Besides the surging domestic aviation market, China will also be a key player in the international air route market alongside its continuous opening-up and the rising enthusiasm of Chinese in global travel.
Five of the top-10 international routes will touch China by the end of 2037, up from the current three, according to IATA.
In 2017, the country recorded 549 million air passenger trips, a 12.6 percent year-on-year increase, according to statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
China will need to purchase 7,690 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars, according to Boeing's latest Chinese market forecast released this Sept.
With China as a major force, the Asia-Pacific region will drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets, said the IATA forecast.
"We see a geographical reshuffling of world air traffic to the East," Juniac said.
Growth in the region's market is driven by a combination of continued robust economic growth, improvements in household incomes and favorable population and demographic profiles.
IATA forecast that India will take third place after the US, surpassing the UK around 2024.
Indonesia is forecast to be a standout performer, climbing from the world's tenth largest aviation market in 2017 to the fourth largest by 2030.
Global prosperity depends on air connectivity. The world stands to benefit greatly from better connectivity.
"The aviation industry is growing and generating huge benefits for the world. A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally," Juniac said.