Air Travel Growth to Slow Down Considerably

South east airports will be full by 2030 says Government report

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The Department for Transport expects the rate of growth in air travel to slow down considerably over the coming decades.  Their passenger forecasts published late this evening expect demand for air travel to increase by just 1%-3% a year up to 2050 compared to historical growth rates of 5% a year over the last 40 years.

The Department gives four reasons for the slow down: higher oil prices; an end to the decline in average fares seen in the last two decades; the maturity of the air travel market to and from the UK; and the availability of alternative modes of travel.

The Department estimates that the major South East airports will be full by 2030 but recognizes there is some uncertainty about this: “ there is a range around this projection and they could be full as soon as 2025 or as late as 2040”. 

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “The exact figures about future demand may be uncertain but the trend is unmistakable:  the growth in air travel in the developed world is slowing down.  Any proposals for airport expansion must be seen in this light.”

February 15, 2013