Infrastructure ‘Crisis’ Will Hit Air Travel in Coming Years, Industry Body Says

Dec 14, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A crisis is looming over the international aviation industry, a top airline organization said Wednesday. It’s not pilot shortages or gas prices that have these experts concerned — it’s airport infrastructure.

“We are approaching an infrastructure crisis,” Alexandre de Juniac, president of the International Aviation Transportation Association, said at the organization’s annual media day. In some places, de Juniac added, the crisis has already begun and is on track to only get worse as the amount of global air travelers increase exponentially in the next two decades.

IATA says that because existing infrastructure can’t meet air travel demand globally, the international aviation industry is entering a “capacity crisis.”

The issue is obvious for anyone who has stepped foot in a major airport anywhere in the world recently and has been overwhelmed by crowds. Major airports all over the globe are already feeling the pressure from the current number of passengers. In a recent IATA poll, passengers reported they feel that airports are already overcrowded —most of us would agree with that poll. Imagine how we are going to feel in five, 10 or 20 years.

To calculate its report airport capacity shortages, IATA did just that: looked at the next 20 years and its projected growth and requirements of the aviation industry. Below are the report’s key points:

  • Passenger numbers are set to double by 2037, reaching 8.2 billon worldwide
  • China will see 1 billon new passengers by 2037
  • Almost 1/3 of the global trade relies on aviation, representing $20 billion per day
  • European air travel delays skyrocketed in 2018, compared to 2017, to more than 14 million minutes, which equates to 26 years worth of extra wait times for passengers.
  • Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will see continued substantial growth over the next two decades

All of the report’s projections show significant capacity increases over last year’s report. It’s clear that the global aviation industry is on track for some serious growing pains over the next two decades, especially because increasing capacity and addressing infrastructure is painstaking work with a serious price tag.

The required investments — if done smartly — will help ease issues with the expected growth in coming years. For those of us who spend many hours a year navigating the globe via air travel, we can only hope that de Juniac, a former Chairman and CEO of AirFrance-KLM, and the IATA’s push for the industry and governments to work together to address this issue is successful.

Because if you think the lines at check-in and security are long now, just think where we are headed in the near future.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.