FAA cites continued aviation growth at forecast meet

Aviation in the U.S. is expected to pause in growth this year, but over the next 20 years to show significant growth, with general aviation’s demand for products and services to be mainly in new business jets and Light-Sport Aircraft. These were the primary issues discussed at the FAA’s annual forecast conference, held in Washington, D.C., last week.

Michael Huerta, acting FAA Administrator, said the slow but steady growth is dependent upon a future free of constraints and the advancement of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

As usual, the majority of the FAA’s conference centered on air carrier operations. Over the next 20 years the number of passengers on airlines is expected to increase 500 million over the 731 million carried last year. Growth in operations at large airports is expected to outpace growth at smaller non-hub airports as air carriers continue to consolidate their networks. Growth at the 30 busiest airports is seen increasing about 50% over the next 20 years. This will require continued altering of flight paths and airspace designs and operations.

“As we move ahead,” Huerta said, “we see a need to modernize the system to use advances in technology.”

Improving airspace around these metropolitan areas is a collaborative effort among all parties, he added.

Advancement of aviation “must be kept at full throttle, expanding on the 10 million jobs and 1.3 trillion dollars that civil aviation currently contributes to the U.S. economy,” he said.

For more information: FAA.gov

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