For Immediate Release

March 8, 2012
Contact: Henry J. Price
Phone: 202-267-3883

Fiscal Years 2012-32


I. 2011 Summary: Economic Activity and Air Travel

  • U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 2.1%; world GDP increased 2.7%.
  • Domestic mainline yields increased 5.6% while international yields increased 10.0%. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), domestic yields increased 2.9% and international yields increased 7.2%.
  • Domestic enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 635.2M in 2010 to 649.9M (2.3%) in 2011. Domestic mainline carrier enplanements increased 3.1% while domestic regional carrier enplanements decreased 0.2%. International enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 77.4M in 2010 to 80.8M (4.4%) in 2011. Mainline carrier international enplanements were up 4.7% while regional carrier international enplanements declined 11.3%.
  • Domestic RPMs by mainline and regional air carriers increased from 555.8B in 2010 to 572.5B (3.0%) in 2011. Domestic mainline carrier RPMs increased 3.3% and domestic regional carrier RPMs increased 0.6%. International RPMs by US carriers increased from 230.9B in 2010 to 242.1B (4.8%) in 2011. Total system RPMs increased from 786.7B in 2010 to 814.6B (3.5%) in 2011. Total mainline carrier RPMs increased by 3.8% while total regional carrier RPMs increased by 0.5%.
  • U.S.commercial air carriers (including passenger and cargo) reported an operating profit of $7.6B in 2011, compared to an operating profit of $9.7B in 2010. Operating revenues increased 10.4% in 2011, while operating expenses increased 12.3%.
  • In 2011 total landings and takeoffs at combined FAA and contract towers were down 1.0% from 2010. Air carrier activity increased by 1.6% while commuter/air taxi activity decreased by 1.4%. General aviation activity dropped 2.3% while military aircraft activity rose 0.9%.

II. Economic Assumptions for FAA Forecasts

  • U.S. Real GDP is forecast to increase from $13.3T in 2011 to $22.6T in 2032, an average annual rate of 2.6%. World GDP is forecast to grow at a faster pace of 3.2% over the same 21-year period, from $52.5T to $102.4T.
GDP by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionFiscal YearCalendar Year
2011201220132012-322011201220132012-32
U.S2.11.62.12.61.71.92.22.6
Worldnananana2.72.63.43.3
Canadanananana2.21.92.62.4
Europe/Afr/MEnananana2.21.62.52.4
Latin Americanananana4.03.44.44.2
Asia/Pacificnananana4.25.05.64.5
  • Inflation is projected to increase 1.9% in 2012 and remain moderate over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, averaging 2.0% annually.

III. Aviation Activity Forecasts

Mainline Air Carrier and Regionals

  • Total mainline air carrier and regional RPMs are forecast to increase from 814.6B in 2011 to 1.57T in 2032, an average annual rate of 3.2%. Domestic RPMs are projected to decrease 0.2% in 2012 and then grow an average of 2.8% per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period. International RPMs are forecast to increase 2.2% in 2012 and then grow an average of 4.4% per year for the rest of the forecast period.
  • Total mainline air carrier and regional enplanements are forecast to increase from 730.7M in 2011 to 1.23B in 2032, an average annual rate of 2.5%. Domestic enplanements are projected to decrease 0.1% in 2012 and then grow an average of 2.4% per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period. International enplanements are forecast to increase 1.9% in 2012 and then grow an average of 4.2% per year for the rest of the forecast period. Total system enplanements are expected to reach one billion in 2024.

Mainline Air Carriers

  • U.S.mainline carrier domestic RPMs are forecast to decrease 0.4% in 2012 and grow at an average annual rate of 2.7% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier domestic enplanements are forecast to decrease 0.3% in 2012. For the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, enplanements grow at an average annual rate of 2.3%, reaching 773.1M in 2032.
  • U.S.mainline carrier international RPMs are forecast to increase 2.4% in 2012 and grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 2.1% in 2012, and then grow an average of 4.3% per year thereafter, reaching 184.8M in 2032. The fastest growing region is Latin America (4.7% per year), followed by Asia/Pacific (4.0% per year), and the Atlantic (3.4% per year).
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Enplanements by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionFiscal Year
2011201220132012-32
Domestic3.1(0.3)2.12.3
International4.82.13.14.3
Atlantic3.20.73.03.5
Latin America6.03.43.94.7
Asia/Pacific3.91.10.74.1
System3.30.12.32.7
  • Total passengers to/from the U.S. (U.S. and foreign flag carriers) are projected to increase 2.6% in 2012 (calendar year). The average annual rate of growth between 2012 and 2032 is 4.2%, with passengers increasing from 166.0M to 376.1M. The fastest growing region is Latin America at 4.8% per year, followed by Asia/Pacific (4.1% per year), Atlantic (3.9% per year) and Canadian Transborder (3.1% per year).
U.S. Mainline & Foreign Flag Air Carriers
Passengers by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionCalendar Year
2011201220132012-32
Total U.S./Foreign Flag2.82.64.04.2
Atlantic(0.6)1.73.03.9
Latin America5.03.14.74.8
Asia/Pacific5.74.15.74.1
Canadian Transborder2.21.92.93.1
  • Domestic mainline passenger real yield (adjusted for inflation) is forecast to increase from 13.59 cents in 2011 to 13.75 cents in 2012 (up 1.2%). Thereafter, domestic mainline carrier real yield declines at an average rate of 0.9% dropping to 11.59 cents in 2032. International mainline real yield is forecast to increase from 14.14 cents in 2011 to 14.70 cents in 2012 (up 3.9%). Thereafter, international real yield declines at a rate of 0.9% annually, falling to 12.34 cents by 2032.
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Real Yield (Average Annual Percent Growth)
RegionFiscal Year
2011201220132012-32
Domestic2.91.20.1(0.9)
International7.23.91.3(0.9)
  • U.S.mainline air carrier passenger jet fleet increases from 3,739 aircraft in 2011 to 5,528 aircraft in 2032, an average annual increase of 1.9%. The fleet is projected to shrink by 2.3% in 2012 (87 aircraft), with all of the decrease attributed to the grounding of less fuel-efficient narrow body aircraft.

Regional Carriers

  • Regional carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 0.7% to 164.8M in 2012, and grow 2.6% a year thereafter, reaching 275.0M in 2032.
U.S. Regional Air Carrier Enplanements (Average Annual Percent Growth)
RegionFiscal Year
2011201220132012-2032
Domestic(0.2)0.70.62.6
International(11.3)0.70.62.6
  • Regional carrier RPMs are forecast to increase 1.1% in 2012 and grow at an average annual rate of 3.6% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period.
  • The regional carrier passenger aircraft fleet increases from 2,567 aircraft in 2011 to 2,980 aircraft in 2032, an average annual increase of 0.7%. The fleet is projected to shrink 0.7% in 2012 (19 aircraft).

Regional jets increase from 1,707 aircraft in 2011 to 2,416 aircraft in 2032, an annual increase of 1.7%. 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 37.3B in 2011 to 101.8B in 2032–up an average of 4.9% a year; domestic RTMs increase 1.6% a year; international RTMs increase 6.0% a year.
U.S. Commercial Air Carriers
Air Cargo Revenue Ton Miles (Average Annual Percent)
RegionFiscal Year
2011201220132012-2032
Domestic(6.1)(2.7)0.91.8
International9.18.08.35.9
Total3.74.56.04.9
  • The cargo fleet increases from 879 aircraft in 2011 to 1,345 aircraft in 2032, an average increase of 2.0% a year.

General Aviation

  • The general aviation fleet increases from 222,520 aircraft in 2011 to 253,205 in 2032, growing an average of 0.6% a year.

Fixed-wing turbine aircraft grow at a rate of 2.9% per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft decline at a rate of 0.1% per year, and rotorcraft grow at a rate of 2.7% per year.

  • General aviation hours flown are forecast to increase from 24.4M in 2011 to 34.8M in 2032, an average annual growth rate of 1.7% a year.

Fixed-wing turbine aircraft hours flown grow at a rate of 4.0% per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft hours flown decline at a rate of 0.1% per year, and rotorcraft hours flown grow at a rate of 2.6% per year.

IV. FAA Workload Forecasts

Operations at Airports with FAA Traffic Control and Contract Tower Service

  • Total operations are forecast to decrease 1.2% to 50.1M in 2012, and then grow at an average annual rate of 1.1% for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 62.6M in 2031. The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 1.0%.

Commercial operations decrease 0.2% in 2012, and grow at a rate of 1.9% thereafter, reaching 32.2M in 2032.

General aviation operations decrease 2.0% in 2012, and grow at a rate of 0.4% thereafter, totaling 30.4M in 2032.

Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Operations

  • TRACON operations are forecast to decrease 1.2% to 37.8M in 2012, and then grow at an average annual rate of 1.3% for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 49.4M in 2032. The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 1.2%.

Commercial TRACON operations decrease 0.4% in 2012, and grow at a rate of 1.9% thereafter, reaching 32.8M in 2032.

General aviation TRACON operations decrease 2.8% in 2012, and grow at a rate of 0.4% thereafter, totaling 14.2M in 2032.

Aircraft Handled at Air Route Traffic Control Centers

  • IFR aircraft handled at FAA air route traffic control centers are forecast to decrease to 41.2M (0.1%) in 2012 and then grow 2.1% a year over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, reaching 62.2M in 2032.

Commercial IFR aircraft handled increase from 32.4M in 2011 to 32.5M in 2012 (0.1%). Thereafter commercial IFR aircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 2.4%, reaching 52.3M in 2032.

General aviation IFR aircraft handled decrease 1.4% during 2012. Thereafter, general aviation IFR aircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 0.9%, reaching 7.7M in 2032.


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

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