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Air Travel Forecast to 2030: The Recovery and the Carbon Challenge

Three charts illustrate how CO2 mitigation costs and inflationary pressures are dampening the aviation demand outlook, despite the receding pandemic.


Air Travel Forecast to 2030: The Recovery and the Carbon Challenge
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Custom Air Travel Forecasts

Improve your financial, capacity, and commercial planning with granular air traffic demand projections.

Launched in May 2020, our air traffic forecast was originally designed as a response to pandemic uncertainties. It has since evolved to take other key factors into account: macroeconomic growth, disposable incomes, and carbon mitigation costs. Now extended to the end of the decade, we intend to publish regular updates using the latest information.

Here is the outlook as of the end of the third quarter of 2023:

  • Air travel demand remains on track to surpass 2019 levels by the middle of next year, and the 2030 outlook remains relatively unchanged vs. the previous quarter (see Figure 1 above). However, several factors have contributed to significant changes in the forecasts for specific regions and countries.
  • A stronger than expected recovery in recent months has boosted the 2030 outlook for North America intraregional travel demand by 5 percentage points (see Figures 2 and 3). This is equivalent to a $6.4 billion revenue increase at 2023 yields.
  • Europe’s intraregional demand outlook declined 4 percentage points, the equivalent of $3.6 billion in revenue. This was due to an economic slowdown and the continued effects of the war in Ukraine. In particular, the UK passenger volume forecast decreased 9% vs. the previous quarter, reflecting slower travel demand growth in recent months and a reduced disposable income projection.
  • We continue to anticipate strong intraregional demand growth in Asia (a 60% increase from 2019 to 2030). Vietnam has one of the region’s strongest outlooks, thanks to its GDP forecast and recent outperformance of travel growth expectations.

Projected market and financial information, analyses, and conclusions are based (unless sourced otherwise) on external information and Bain & Company’s judgment. They are intended as a guide only and should not be construed as definitive forecasts or guarantees of future performance or results. No responsibility or liability whatsoever is accepted by any person, including Bain & Company, Inc., or its affiliates and their respective officers, employees, or agents, for any errors or omissions.


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