Passenger growth to skyrocket to 3.91 billion flyers by 2017

Members of the media and officials walk on the runway in front of an Emirates Airlines plane during...

Members of the media and officials walk on the runway in front of an Emirates Airlines plane during the media tour of Dubai's new second airport, Dubai World Central or Al-Maktoum International. (AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB)


, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

In 2017, the total number of flyers taking to the skies will hit 3.91 billion, a 31% spike from 2012, driven largely by growth in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

That's the prediction of International Air Transport Association (IATA), which released its forecast for travel between 2013 and 2017 this week, detailing the areas of growth and demand.

According the report, the Middle East will report the strongest international passenger growth with a compound annual growth rate of 6.3% over the five-year period, followed by Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

One needn't look far to see that the Middle East is bracing itself for a spike in passenger demand and setting itself up as a major international aviation hub.

At the Dubai Airshow last month, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways made international headlines for striking billion-dollar deals, ordering 393 new commercial jets from Boeing and Airbus.

The new Al Maktoum International airport in Dubai which opened to much fanfare last month, also aims to become the largest airport in passenger capacity with plans to accommodate 160 million flyers by 2030.

Here are a few other highlights from the IATA report:

-In 2017, the US will remain the largest single market for domestic passengers at 677.8 million, but will only add 70 million new flyers to the skies, reflecting its maturity in the aviation market.

-China will be in second place with 487.9 million domestic flyers in 2017.

-Uzbekistan displaces Kazakhstan as the fastest-growing market for international passenger traffic, followed by Russia, Turkey, Oman, China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan.

-The United Arab Emirates will add 29.2 million passengers over the forecast period, nearly as many as China.

-Brazil will become the third-largest domestic market after the US and China, with 122.4 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 6.3% from 2012.

- Among the 10 fastest-growing countries by domestic passengers, numbers 6 through 10 are all in Latin America: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador.