The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that air passenger numbers could reach 8.2 billion in 2037.

According to an update to the association’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast, continued strong growth in passenger traffic is bolstered by a shift towards the Asia-Pacific region in the industry.

The forecast anticipates a 3.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 20 years, which would result in the doubling of passenger numbers.

However, IATA has warned that air transport growth and related economic benefits can face challenges if protectionist measures are implemented by governments.

“A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally.”

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “Aviation is growing, and that is generating huge benefits for the world.

“A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally. There are two important things that stand out about this year’s forecast.

“Firstly, we are seeing a geographical reshuffling of world air traffic to the East. And secondly, we foresee a significant negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented.”

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According to the forecast, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the highest increase with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next two decades coming from these markets.

Growth in the region is a result of continued robust economic growth, an increase in household incomes, and favourable population and demographic profiles.