FAA 2017-2037 Forecast Predicts Growth

The Federal Aviation Administration has released its 20-year forecast for the 2017-2037 period.


Highlights from the Forecast include:

  • U.S. carrier passenger growth over the next 20 years to average 1.9 percent per year.
  • System traffic in revenue passenger miles is projected to increase by 2.4 percent a year.
  • The long term outlook for general aviation is stable to optimistic.
  • The active general aviation fleet is forecast to increase to a fleet of about 3,400 units.
  • Operations at FAA and contract towers are forecast to increase 0.8 percent a year.
  • Commercial activity growing at five times the rate of non-commercial activity.

“The growth in U.S. airline and business aviation activity is the primary driver. Large and medium hubs will see much faster increases than small and non-hub airports, largely due to the commercial nature of their operations.”


On the topic of unmanned aircraft, the FAA shared the following:

  • Over 626,000 hobbyists registered as of December 31, 2016.
  • Annual growth rate to be around 68%.
  • The hobbyist fleet will likely more than triple in size over the next 5 years.
  • More than 44,000 commercial UAS have been registered.
  • The non-hobbyist fleet by 2021 will likely be ten times larger, exceeding 420,000 by 2021
  • The FAA has issued more than 29,000 Remote Pilot Certificates. FAA projects the number of Remote Pilots will grow significantly following the growth trends of commercial small UAS sector.


Click here or the graphic to download the 89-page study.

Click here to view more forecasts and data on the FAA website.