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Fact Sheet – FAA Forecast Fact Sheet – Fiscal Years 2015-2035

For Immediate Release

March 16, 2015


I. 2014 Summary: Economic Activity and Air Travel

  • U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 2.5%; world GDP increased 2.5%.
  • Domestic mainline yields increased 5.3% while international yields increased 0.8% in 2014. In real terms (adjusted for inflation in FY14$), domestic yields increased 3.6% and international yields decreased 0.8%.
  •  Domestic enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 654.4M in 2013 to 668.4M (2.1%) in 2014. Domestic mainline carrier enplanements increased 2.9% while domestic regional carrier enplanements decreased 0.2%. International enplanements on mainline and regional air carriers increased from 85.1M in 2013 to 88.0M (3.4%) in 2014. Mainline carrier international enplanements were up 3.6% while regional carrier international enplanements declined 1.1%.
  • Domestic RPMs by mainline and regional air carriers increased from 584.0B in 2013 to 598.5B (2.5%) in 2014. Domestic mainline carrier RPMs increased 2.8% and domestic regional carrier RPMs increased 0.5%. International RPMs by US carriers increased from 250.3B in 2013 to 256.6B (2.6%) in 2014. Total system RPMs increased from 834.2B in 2013 to 855.1B (2.5%) in 2014. Total mainline carrier RPMs increased by 2.7% while total regional carrier RPMs increased by 0.6%.
  • U.S. commercial air carriers (including passenger and cargo) reported an operating profit of $16.8B in 2014, compared to an operating profit of $10.8B in 2013. Operating revenues increased 4.2% in 2014, while operating expenses increased 1.2%.
  • In 2014 total landings and takeoffs at combined FAA and contract towers were down 0.9% from 2013. Air carrier activity increased by 1.9% while commuter/air taxi activity decreased by 4.1%. General aviation activity dropped 1.1% while military aircraft activity dropped 1.4%. 

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

II. Economic Assumptions for FAA Forecasts

  • U.S. Real GDP is forecast to increase from $16.0T in 2014 to $26.3T in 2035, an average annual rate of 2.4%. World GDP is forecast to grow at a faster pace of 3.1% over the same 21-year period, from $72.6T to $137.7T.
GDP by World Region (Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionFiscal YearCalendar Year
2014201520162015-352014201520162015-35
U.S2.52.72.42.42.22.72.52.4
WorldN/AN/AN/AN/A2.52.83.23.1
CanadaN/AN/AN/AN/A2.42.42.42.3
Europe/Afr/MEN/AN/AN/AN/A1.71.92.52.4
Latin AmericaN/AN/AN/AN/A0.91.52.93.5
Asia/PacificN/AN/AN/AN/A4.34.44.74.3
  • Inflation is projected to increase 0.3% in 2015 and remain moderate over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, averaging 2.2% annually.

Note: Based on IHS Global Insight Dec 2014 U.S. Macro and World Economic Outlook

III. Aviation Activity Forecasts

Mainline Air Carrier and Regionals

  • Total mainline air carrier and regional RPMs are forecast to increase from 855.1B in 2014 to 1.44T in 2035, an average annual rate of 2.5%. Domestic RPMs are projected to increase 2.8% in 2015 and then grow an average of 1.9% per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period. International RPMs are forecast to increase 2.3% in 2015 and then grow an average of 3.7% per year for the rest of the forecast period.
  • Total mainline air carrier and regional enplanements are forecast to increase from 756.3M in 2014 to 1.14B in 2035, an average annual rate of 2.0%. Domestic enplanements are projected to increase 2.6% in 2015 and then grow an average of 1.6% per year during the remaining 20-year forecast period. International enplanements are forecast to increase 2.5% in 2015 and then grow an average of 3.7% per year for the rest of the forecast period.

Mainline Air Carriers

  • U.S. mainline carrier domestic RPMs are forecast to increase 2.7% in 2015 and grow at an average annual rate of 1.9% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier domestic enplanements are forecast to increase 2.7% in 2015. For the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, enplanements grow at an average annual rate of 1.7%, reaching 731.7M in 2035. 
  • U.S. mainline carrier international RPMs are forecast to increase 2.3% in 2015 and grow at an average annual rate of 3.7% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period. U.S. mainline carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 2.5% in 2015, and then grow an average of 3.7% per year thereafter, reaching 181.4M in 2035. The fastest growing region is Latin America (4.2% per year), followed by Asia/Pacific (3.5% per year), and the Atlantic (2.5% per year).
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Enplanements by World Region
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionFiscal Year
2014201520162015-35
Domestic2.92.71.51.7
International3.62.53.63.7
Atlantic0.61.52.92.6
Latin America7.54.33.74.2
Asia/Pacific(2.9)(1.5)4.43.7
System3.02.71.82.0
  • Total passengers to/from the U.S. (U.S. and foreign flag carriers) are projected to increase 4.7% in 2015 (calendar year). The average annual rate of growth between 2015 and 2035 is 4.0%, with passengers increasing from 204.9M to 452.9M. The fastest growing region is Latin America at 4.4% per year, followed by Asia/Pacific (4.3% per year), Atlantic (3.9% per year) and Canadian Transborder (3.3% per year).
U.S. Mainline & Foreign Flag Air Carriers
Passengers by World Region
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
World RegionCalendar Year
2014201520162015-35
Total U.S./Foreign Flag5.54.74.24.0
Atlantic4.64.34.73.9
Latin America7.46.13.84.4
Asia/Pacific4.94.34.54.0
Canadian Transborder3.52.53.63.3
  • Domestic mainline passenger real yield (adjusted for inflation) is forecast to increase from 15.18 cents in 2014 to 15.59 cents in 2015 (up 2.7%). Thereafter, domestic mainline carrier real yield declines at an average rate of 0.2%dropping to 14.85 cents in 2035. International mainline real yield is forecast to decrease from 15.00 cents in 2014 to 14.93 cents in 2015 (down 0.5%). Thereafter, international real yield declines at a rate of 0.6% annually, falling to 13.11 cents by 2035.
U.S. Mainline Air Carriers
Real Yield
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
RegionFiscal Year
2014201520162015-35
Domestic3.62.70.7(0.2)
International(0.8)(0.5)(0.7)(0.6)
  • U.S. mainline air carrier passenger jet fleet increases from 3,770 aircraft in 2014 to 5,015 aircraft in 2035, an average annual increase of 1.4%. The fleet is projected to increase by 1.3% in 2015 (49 aircraft), with increases in both the narrow body and wide body fleet.

Regional Carriers

  • Regional carrier enplanements are forecast to increase 2.2% to 161.5M in 2015, and grow 1.6% a year thereafter, reaching 223.3M in 2035.
U.S. Regional Air Carrier Enplanements
(Average Annual Percent Growth)
RegionFiscal Year
2014201520162015-2035
Domestic(0.2)2.21.51.6
International(1.1)2.21.51.6
  • Regional carrier RPMs are forecast to increase 3.4% in 2015 and grow at an average annual rate of 2.0% for the remaining 20 years of the forecast period.
  • The regional carrier passenger aircraft fleet decreases from 2,148 aircraft in 2014 to 2,034 aircraft in 2035, an average annual decrease of 0.3%. The fleet is projected to shrink 2.7% in 2015 (57 aircraft).
    • Regional jets increase from 1,593 aircraft in 2014 to 1,852 aircraft in 2035, an annual increase of 0.7%. 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 34.8B in 2014 to 72.6B in 2035–up an average of 3.6% a year; domestic RTMs increase 0.6% a year; international RTMs increase 4.7% a year.
U.S. Commercial Air Carriers
Air Cargo Revenue Ton Miles
(Average Annual Percent)
RegionFiscal Year
2014201520162015-2035
Total0.03.73.53.6
Domestic2.31.70.90.5
International(1.2)4.95.04.7
  • The cargo fleet increases from 758 aircraft in 2014 to 1,082 aircraft in 2035, an average increase of 1.7% a year. 

General Aviation

  • The general aviation fleet increases from 198,860 aircraft in 2014 to 214,260 in 2035, growing an average of 0.4% a year.
    • Fixed-wing turbine aircraft grow at a rate of 2.2% per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft decline at a rate of 0.6% per year, and rotorcraft grow at a rate of 2.5% per year.
  • General aviation hours flown are forecast to increase from 23.1M in 2014 to 30.6M in 2035, an average annual growth rate of 1.4% a year.
    • Fixed-wing turbine aircraft hours flown grow at a rate of 2.9% per year, fixed-wing piston aircraft hours flown decline at a rate of 0.5% per year, and rotorcraft hours flown grow at a rate of 3.0% per year.

IV. FAA Workload Forecasts

Operations at Airports with FAA Traffic Control and Contract Tower Service

  • Total operations are forecast to increase 0.4% to 49.8M in 2015, and then grow at an average annual rate of 0.9% for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 59.9M in 2035. The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 0.9%.
    • Commercial operations increase 0.6% in 2015, and grow at a rate of 1.6% thereafter, reaching 29.5M in 2035.
    • General aviation operations increase 0.3% in 2015, and grow at a rate of 0.4% thereafter, totaling 28.0M in 2035.

Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Operations

  • TRACON operations are forecast to remain unchanged at 36.8M in 2015, and then grow at an average annual rate of 1.1% for the remainder of the forecast period, reaching 46.1M in 2035. The average annual growth rate for the entire 21-year forecast period is 1.1%.
    • Commercial TRACON operations increase 0.4% in 2015, and grow at a rate of 1.5% thereafter, reaching 29.3M in 2035.
    • General aviation TRACON operations decrease 0.6% in 2015, and grow at a rate of 0.6% thereafter, totaling 14.5M in 2035.

Aircraft Handled at Air Route Traffic Control Centers

  • IFR aircraft handled at FAA air route traffic control centers are forecast to increase to 41.8M (1.2%) in 2015 and then grow 1.5% a year over the remaining 20 years of the forecast period, reaching 56.1M in 2035.
    • Commercial IFR aircraft handled increase from 32.8M in 2014 to 33.2M in 2015 (1.2%). Thereafter commercial IFR aircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 1.7%, reaching 46.3M in 2035.
    • General aviation IFR aircraft handled increase 1.6% during 2015. Thereafter, general aviation IFRaircraft handled grow at an average annual rate of 0.8%, reaching 8.0M in 2035.

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=18356