WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA’s annual forecast, released today, sees general aviation increasing over the next 20 years but at a rate of less than 1% a year. Fixed wing piston aircraft will have the slowest growth, increasing only 0.2% a year, the forecast predicts, while fixed wing turbine aircraft are forecast for the biggest percentage growth, gaining at a rate of 3.1% a year, with rotorcraft increasing at a rate of 2.2%.
Of course, percentages often tell misleading information. Something growing by 10 from five to 15 increases 200%. But something adding 10 to 100 grows only 10%. In numbers, the total general aviation fleet is forecast to increase from 224,172 in 2010 to 270,920 in 2031, a gain of 46,748. Similarly, hours flown show the highest percentage of growth in turbine fixed wing — a rate of 4% a year, with fixed wing piston at just 0.7% and rotorcraft at 3%. Total hours flown by GA is predicted to grow from 24.1 million in 2010 to 37.8 million in 2031.
General aviation operations are forecast to decrease 3.1% in 2011 but to then increase at a rate of 1.2% thereafter. Flights on instrument flight rules, however, are forecast to increase through the period, gaining 2.1% during 2011 and an annual growth of 1.4%, reaching 8.9 million in 2031.
Commercial flying is forecast to have heavy growth. The mainline air carrier jet fleet is forecast to increase more than 2,000 aircraft from 3,713 in 2010 to 5,888 in 3031. In the same period, regional carriers are expected to climb from 2,577 in 2010 to 3,384 in 2031. The cargo fleet is seen growing from 806 in 2010 to 1,251 in 2031.
FAA holds its forecast conference each year, using economic assumptions for the United States as one factor in predictions.
For more information: FAA.gov