Fact Sheet – FAA Forecast–Fiscals Years 2016-37

Fact Sheet – FAA Forecast–Fiscals Years 2016-37

For Immediate Release

March 21, 2017
Contact: Hank Price
Phone: 202-267-3883


I. 2016 SUMMARY:  ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND AIR TRAVEL

  • U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 1.6 percent; world GDP increased 2.3 percent.
  • Domestic mainline yields decreased 5.6 percent, while international yields decreased 9.1 percent in 2016. In real terms (adjusted for inflation in FY16$), domestic yields decreased 6.5 percent and international yields decreased 9.9 percent.
  • Domestic enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 696.3M in 2015 to 726.2M (4.3 percent) in 2016.  Domestic mainline carrier enplanements increased 5.8 percent, while domestic regional carrier enplanements decreased 0.9 percent. International enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 90.2M in 2015 to 93.4M (3.6percent) in 2016.  Mainline carrier international enplanements were up 3.1 percent, while regional carrier international enplanements increased 16.0 percent.
  • Domestic RPMs by mainline and regional air carriers increased from 628.5B in 2015 to 663.2B (5.5 percent) in 2016. Domestic mainline carrier RPMs increased 6.1 percent and domestic regional carrier RPMs increased 0.3 percent. International RPMs by US carriers increased from 261.0B in 2015 to 264.8B (1.5 percent) in 2016. Total system RPMs increased from 889.5B in 2015 to 928.0B (4.3 percent) in 2016. Total mainline carrier RPMs increased by 4.6 percent while total regional carrier RPMs increased by 0.9 percent.
  • U.S. commercial air carriers (including passenger and cargo) reported an operating profit of $29.6B in 2016, compared to an operating profit of $26.7B in 2015. Operating revenues decreased 0.1 percent in 2016, while operating expenses decreased 1.7 percent.
  • In 2016 total landings and takeoffs at combined FAA and contract towers were up 0.5 percent from 2015. Air carrier activity increased by 4.8 percent, while commuter/air taxi activity decreased by 4.0 percent. General aviation activity dropped 0.2 percent, while military aircraft activity dropped 1.3 percent.

II. ECONOMIC ASSUMPTIONS FOR FAA FORECASTS

  • U.S. Real GDP is forecast to increase from $16.6T in 2016 to $25.4T in 2037, an average annual rate of 2.1 percent.  World GDP is forecast to grow at a faster pace of 2.8 percent over the same 21-year period, from $76.7T to $137.1T.
GDP by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Fiscal Year Calendar Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-37 2016 2016 2018 2017-37
U.S 1.6 2.1 2.5 2.0 1.6 2.3 2.6 2.1
World N/A N/A N/A N/A 2.3 2.7 3.0 2.8
Canada N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.3 2.1 2.4 2.0
Europe/Afr/ME N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.7 1.7 2.0 2.1
Latin America N/A N/A N/A N/A (1.1) 1.2 2.3 3.1
Asia/Pacific N/A N/A N/A N/A 4.3 4.3 4.4 3.9
  • Inflation is projected to increase 2.4 percent in 2017 and remain moderate over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, averaging 2.5 percent annually.

III. AVIATION ACTIVITY FORECASTS

Mainline Air Carrier and Regionals

  • Total mainline air carrier and regional RPMs are forecast to increase from 928.0B in 2016 to 1.53T in 2037, an average annual rate of 2.4 percent. Domestic RPMs are projected to increase 3.2 percent in 2017 and then grow an average of 2.0 percent per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period.  International RPMs are forecast to increase 1.9 percent in 2017 and then grow an average of 3.4 percent per year for the rest of the forecast period.
  • Total mainline air carrier and regional enplanements are forecast to increase from 819.6M in 2016 to 1.23B in 2037, an average annual rate of 1.9 percent. Domestic enplanements are projected to increase 2.2 percent in 2017 and then grow an average of 1.7 percent per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period.  International enplanements are forecast to increase 2.3 percent in 2017 and then grow an average of 3.5 percent per year for the rest of the forecast period.

Mainline Air Carriers

  •  U.S. mainline carrier domestic RPMs are forecast to increase 3.5 percent in 2017 and grow at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier domestic enplanements are forecast to increase 2.6 percent in 2017. For the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, enplanements grow at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent, reaching 824.6M in 2037.
  • U.S. mainline carrier international RPMs are forecast to increase 1.9 percent in 2017 and grow at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 2.4 percent in 2017, and then grow an average of 3.5 percent per year thereafter, reaching 184.6M in 2037. The fastest growing region is Latin America (4.1 percent per year), followed by the Atlantic (2.7 percent per year), and Asia/Pacific (2.5 percent per year).
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Enplanements by World Region
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Fiscal Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-37
Domestic 5.8 2.6 2.7 1.7
International 3.1 2.4 3.6 3.5
Atlantic (1.0) (0.3) 4.7 2.7
Latin America 5.9 3.6 3.4 4.1
Asia/Pacific 0.6 2.8 2.6 2.5
System 5.4 2.6 2.9 2.0
  •  Total passengers to/from the U.S. (U.S. and foreign flag carriers) are projected to increase 4.7 percent in 2017 (calendar year).  The average annual rate of growth between 2017 and 2037 is 3.6 percent, with passengers increasing from 228.8M to 467.1M. The fastest growing region is Latin America at 3.9 percent per year, followed by Asia/Pacific (3.8 percent per year), Canadian Transborder (3.5 percent per year) and Atlantic (3.4 percent per year).
U.S. Mainline & Foreign Flag Air Carriers
Passengers by World Region
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Calendar Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-37
Total U.S./Foreign Flag 5.3 4.7 2.8 3.6
Atlantic 4.8 4.6 3.0 3.4
Latin America 5.5 5.2 1.2 3.9
Asia/Pacific 8.4 4.4 4.4 3.8
Canadian Transborder 2.0 3.8 4.4 3.5
  • Domestic mainline passenger real yield (adjusted for inflation) is forecast to decrease from 13.96 cents in 2016 to 13.70 cents in 2017 (down 1.8 percent).  Thereafter, domestic mainline carrier real yield declines at an average rate of 0.3 percent, dropping to 12.87 cents in 2037. International mainline real yield is forecast to decrease from 12.88 cents in 2016 to 12.78 cents in 2017 (down 0.8 percent).  Thereafter, international real yield declines at a rate of 0.6 percent annually, falling to 11.30 cents by 2037.
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Real Yield
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
Region Fiscal Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-37
Domestic (6.5) (1.8) (0.2) (0.3)
International (9.9) (0.8) (0.5) (0.6)
  • U.S. mainline air carrier passenger jet fleet increases from 4,068 aircraft in 2016 to 5,199 aircraft in 2037, an average annual increase of 1.2 percent. The fleet is projected to decrease by 1.5 percent in 2017 (62 aircraft), driven by a decrease in the narrow body fleet.

Regional Carriers

  • Regional carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 0.6 percent to 156.0M in 2017, and grow 1.7 percent a year thereafter, reaching 217.4M in 2037.
U.S. Regional Air Carrier Enplanements
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
Region Fiscal Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-2037
Domestic (0.9) 0.6 2.7 1.7
International 16.0 0.6 2.7 1.7
  • Regional carrier RPMs are forecast to increase 0.7 percent in 2017 and grow at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period.
  • The regional carrier passenger aircraft fleet decreases from 2,156 aircraft in 2016 to 2,027 aircraft in 2037, an average annual decrease of 0.3 percent. The fleet is projected to shrink 5.1 percent in 2017 (111 aircraft).

    – Regional jets increase from 1,637 aircraft in 2016 to 1,828 aircraft in 2037, an annual increase of 0.5percent.  All of the increase is attributed to jet aircraft in the 70-90-seat category.

Cargo

  • Total air cargo RTMs (freight/express and mail) increase from 36.0B in 2016 to 66.4B in 2037 – up an average of 3.0 percent a year; domestic RTMs increase 1.3 percent a year; international RTMs increase 3.8 percent a year.
U.S. Commercial Air Carriers
Air Cargo Revenue Ton Miles
(Average Annual Percent)
Region Fiscal Year
2016 2017 2018 2017-2037
Total (0.9) 1.4 3.2 3.1
Domestic 1.8 1.7 3.1 1.3
International (2.4) 1.3 3.3 4.0
  • The cargo fleet increases from 810 aircraft in 2016 to 1,044 aircraft in 2037, an average increase of 1.2 percent a year.

General Aviation

  • The general aviation fleet increases from 209,905 aircraft in 2016 to 213,420 in 2037, growing an average of 0.1 percent a year.
    – Fixed-wing turbine aircraft grow at a rate of 1.9 percent per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft–decline at a rate of 0.8 percent per year, and rotorcraft grow at a rate of 1.6 percent per year.
  • General aviation hours flown are forecast to increase from 24.6M in 2016 to 29.9M in 2037, an average annual growth rate of 0.9 percent a year.
    – Fixed-wing turbine aircraft hours flown grow at a rate of 2.5 percent per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft hours flown decline at a rate of 0.8 percent per year, and rotorcraft hours flown grow at a rate of 2.0 percent per year.

 

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