Air travel industry is weathering global economic uncertainty…and then some

Flying above the turbulence of economic uncertainty.
Flying above the turbulence of economic uncertainty.
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Global economic woes persist, but there’s daylight on the horizon for airlines and aerospace companies.  Commercial aviation is on the rebound.  Again.

Despite adverse business conditions, passenger traffic rose 6 percent in 2011 above 2010 levels.  And this trend, according to Boeing experts, will continue over the next 20 years, with passenger traffic growing at a steady 5 percent annually.

How can such a note of optimism be sounded even as global economic uncertainty continues?  The past 50 years provide some answers.  That’s about how long Boeing has been compiling its Current Market Outlook, an in-depth look at the long-term drivers of air travel and their relationship to current global trends and developments.

These decades of study show that the air travel industry is stubbornly resilient, reliably rebounding from economic downturns to resume long-term growth—just as it’s doing now.  The key to such resilience is simple, but undeniable:  the vital connection air travel makes between people, cultures, economies and nations is an essential part of personal and business life for countless travelers.

This is good news for Boeing and other airplane manufacturers—it translates into a need for 34,000 new airplanes valued at $4.5 trillion over the next 20 years.

This article is written by Boeing and not by the Quartz editorial staff.