For Immediate Release

March 9, 2010
Contact: Henry J. Price
Phone: (202) 267-3883

Fiscal Years 2010-30


All specified years are fiscal years (October 1 through September 30).

2009 Summary:  Economic Activity and Air Travel

  • U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased 2.8 percent; world GDP fell 2.3 percent.
  • Domestic mainline yields decreased 8.6 percent while international yields fell 12.9 percent. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), domestic yields decreased 8.4 percent and international yields decreased 12.6 percent.
  • Domestic enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers fell from 681.3 million in 2008 to 631.3 million (-7.3 percent) in 2009.  Domestic mainline carrier enplanements dropped 8.5 percent while domestic regional carrier enplanements fell 3.4 percent.  International enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers decreased from 77.8 million in 2008 to 72.7 million (-6.6 percent) in 2009.  Mainline carrier international enplanements were down 5.6 percent while regional enplanements fell 27.2 percent.
  • U.S.commercial air carriers (including passenger and cargo) reported an operating profit of $755 million in 2009, compared to an operating loss of $2.0 billion in 2008.  Operating revenues decreased 16.1 percent in 2009, while operating expenses decreased 17.4 percent.
  • In 2009 total landings and takeoffs at combined FAA and contract towers were down 10.4 percent from 2008.  Air carrier activity decreased by 6.9 percent while commuter/air taxi activity decreased by 13.8 percent. General aviation activity dropped 11.7 percent while military aircraft activity rose 2.2 percent. 

Economic Assumptions for FAA Forecasts

  • U.S. Real GDP is forecast to increase from $13.0 trillion in 2009 to $22.4 trillion in 2030, an average annual rate of 2.6 percent.  World GDP is forecast to grow at a faster pace of 3.2 percent over the same 21-year period, from $49.0 trillion to $94.6 trillion.
GDP by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Fiscal Year Calendar Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30 2009 2010 2011 2010-30
U.S (2.8) 1.5 2.6 2.7 (2.5) 2.1 2.9 2.7
World na na na na (2.3) 2.5 3.2 3.2
Canada na na na na (2.6) 2.1 3.4 2.4
Europe/Afr/ME na na na na (3.4) 1.3 2.0 2.3
Latin America na na na na (2.6) 3.2 4.3 3.7
Asia/Pacific na na na na 0.0 4.7 4.7 4.6
  • Inflation is projected to increase 1.4 percent in 2010 and remain moderate over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, averaging 1.9 percent annually.

Aviation Activity Forecasts

Mainline Air Carrier and Regionals

  • Total mainline air carrier and regional enplanements are forecast to increase from 704.0 million in 2009 to 1.21 billion in 2030, an average annual rate of 2.6 percent.  Domestic enplanements are projected to increase 0.4 percent in 2010 and then grow an average of 2.5 percent per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period.  International enplanements are forecast to increase 0.9 percent in 2010 and then grow an average of 4.1 percent per year for the rest of the forecast period.  Total system enplanements are expected to reach one billion in 2023.

Mainline Air Carriers

  • U.S.mainline carrier domestic enplanements are forecast to decrease 0.9 percent in 2010.  For the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, enplanements grow at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent, reaching 760.9 million in 2030.
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers Enplanements by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Fiscal Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30
Domestic (8.5) (0.9) 1.3 2.4
International (5.6) 0.8 4.0 4.2
   Atlantic (4.9) (2.5) 4.7 3.4
   Latin America (5.0) 3.2 3.7 4.4
   Asia/Pacific (8.7) 0.7 3.6 4.9
System (8.2) (0.7) 1.7 2.7
  • Total passengers to/from the United States (U.S. and foreign flag carriers) are projected to increase 3.3 percent in 2010.  The average annual rate of growth between 2009 and 2030 is 4.2 percent, with passengers increasing from 147.1 million to 347.9 million. The fastest growing region is Asia/Pacific at 5.1 percent per year, followed by Latin America (4.3 percent per year), Atlantic (3.9 percent per year) and Canadian Transborder (3.4 percent per year).
U.S. Mainline & Foreign Flag Air Carriers: Passengers by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World Region Calendar Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30
Total U.S./Foreign Flag (4.6) 3.3 5.0 4.2
   Atlantic (3.9) 3.4 4.6 3.9
   Latin America (4.3) 3.4 4.7 4.4
   Asia/Pacific (6.4) 3.8 7.2 5.2
   Canadian Transborder (4.8) 2.8 4.0 3.4
  • Domestic mainline passenger real yield (adjusted for inflation) is forecast to increase from 11.96 cents in 2009 to 12.15 cents in 2010 (up 1.6 percent). Thereafter, domestic mainline carrier real yield declines at an average rate of 1.0 percent dropping to 10.01 cents in 2030.  International mainline real yield is forecast to increase from 11.69 cents in 2009 to 12.05 cents in 2010. Thereafter, international real yield declines at a rate of 0.7 percent annually, falling to 10.45 cents by 2030.
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers: Real Yield (Average Annual Percent Growth)
Region Fiscal Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30
Domestic (8.4) 1.6 1.0 (1.0)
International (12.6) 3.1 4.7 (0.7)
  • U.S.mainline air carrier passenger jet fleet increases from 3,666 aircraft in 2009 to 5,342 aircraft in 2030, an average annual increase of 1.8 percent. The fleet is projected to shrink by 0.5 percent in 2010 (17 aircraft), with most of the decrease attributed to the grounding of less fuel-efficient aircraft during a period of reduced demand.

Regional Carriers

  • Regional carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 4.6 percent to 163.4 million in 2010, and grow 2.9 percent a year thereafter, reaching 289.3 million in 2030.
U.S. Regional Air Carrier Enplanements (Average Annual Percent Growth)
Region Fiscal Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30
Domestic (3.4) 4.6 3.4 2.9
International (27.2) 4.6 3.4 2.9
  • The regional carrier passenger aircraft fleet increases from 2,612 aircraft in 2009 to 3,401 aircraft in 2030, an average annual increase of 1.3 percent. The fleet is projected to shrink by 4.3 percent in 2010 (113 aircraft).
    • Regional jets increase from 1,710 aircraft in 2009 to 2,441 aircraft in 2030, an annual increase of 1.7 percent.  All of the increase is attributed to jet aircraft in the 70-90-seat category.

Cargo

  • Total air cargo Registered Ton Miles (RTMs) (freight/express and mail) increase from 30.8 billion in 2009 to 86.6 billion in 2030 – up an average of 5.0 percent a year; domestic RTMs increase 2.1 percent a year; international RTMs increase 6.3 percent a year.
U.S. Commercial Air Carriers: Air Cargo Revenue Ton Miles (Average Annual Percent)
Region Fiscal Year
2009 2010 2011 2010-30
Domestic (17.7) 1.3 2.0 2.2
International (23.0) 4.7 6.6 6.4
Total (21.0) 3.4 4.9 5.1
  • The cargo fleet increases from 854 aircraft in 2009 to 1,531 aircraft in 2030, an average increase of 2.8 percent a year. 

General Aviation

  • The general aviation fleet increases from 229,149 aircraft in 2009 to 278,723 in 2030, growing an average of 0.9 percent a year.
    • Fixed-wing turbine aircraft grow at a rate of 3.1 percent per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft grow at a rate of 0.1 percent per year, and rotorcraft grow at a rate of  2.8 percent per  year.
  • General aviation hours flown are forecast to increase from 23.3 million in 2009 to 38.9 million in 2030, an average annual growth rate of 2.5 percent a year.
    • Fixed-wing turbine aircraft hours flown grow at a rate of 4.6 percent per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft hours flown grow at a rate of 1.0 percent per year, and rotorcraft hours flown grow at a rate of 3.0 percent per year.

FAA Workload Forecasts

 Operations at Airports with FAA Traffic Control and Contract Tower Service

  • Total operations are forecast to decrease 2.7 percent to 51.5 million in 2010, and then grow at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 69.6 million in 2030.  The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 1.3 percent. 
    • Commercial operations decrease 2.2 percent in 2010, and grow at a rate of 1.9 percent thereafter, reaching 32.0 million in 2030.
    • General aviation operations decrease 3.1 percent in 2010, and grow at a rate of 1.3 percent thereafter, totaling 35.1 million in 2030.

Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Operations

  • TRACON operations are forecast to decrease 1.1 percent to 39.0 million in 2010, and then grow at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 54.4 million in 2030.  The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 1.5 percent. 
    • Commercial TRACON operations decrease 1.7 percent in 2010, and grow at a rate of 2.1 percent thereafter, reaching 34.1 million in 2030.
    • General aviation TRACON operations decrease 0.3 percent in 2010, and grow at a rate of 1.2 percent thereafter, totaling 17.9 million in 2030.

Aircraft Handled at Air Route Traffic Control Centers

  • Instument Flight Rules (IFR) aircraft handled at FAA air route traffic control centers are forecast to decrease to 39.4 million (-1.6 percent) in 2010 and then grow 2.5 percent a year over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, reaching 64.1 million in 2030.
    • Commercial IFR aircraft handled decrease from 30.8 million in 2009 to 30.3 million in 2010 (-1.6 percent). Thereafter commercial IFR aircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent, reaching 53.8 million in 2030.
    • General aviation IFR aircraft handled decrease 2.7 percent during 2010. Thereafter, general aviation IFR aircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent, reaching 7.3 million in 2030.  

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