March 31 — U.S. airlines will have almost 9 percent fewer passengers this year, according to FAA’s annual aviation activity forecast, released today in Washington, D.C. Aviation’s downturn is linked directly to the economic turbulence around the globe. Because of the economic woes, FAA’s 16-year forecast for 2009-2025 also predicts that U.S. airlines will not reach a billion passengers a year until 2021. Previously, the agency had forecast that U.S. airlines would hit that mark by 2016.
Even with the dip in passenger numbers, FAA stressed the continuing need for new air traffic control procedures and technology, specifically the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). “NextGen” is a key to the agency’s proposal for a satellite-based air traffic control system, the agency said. According to the FAA, the prietag for delays averages more than $9 billion annually. NextGen is designed to provide safety, capacity and effieincy benefits that are beyond the reach of today’s system. To read more about NextGen, see fact sheet.
To get more specifics on the forecast, see: