Space ops, drones add to growth in air travel: FAA Aerospace Forecast

New US industry forecasts indicate that the small model fleet of unmanned aircraft – or drones – will grow from 1.2 million vehicles in 2018 to 1.4 million in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 2.2 per cent.

The commercial, small non-model UAS fleet, meanwhile, is forecast to nearly triple from 277,386 in 2018 to 835,211 in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 24.7 per cent.In addition to UAS, another rapidly growing aerospace field is commercial space transportation  and the FAA, which licenses and regulation this industry, projects that commercial space launch and re-entry operations will increase from 35 in 2018 to an estimated 56 in 2021.
According to the FAA Aerospace Forecast For Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-2039,  aircraft operations are expected to increase more than 25 per cent over the next 20 years.The FAA forecasts total operations (landings and take-offs) at air traffic control towers to increase from 51.8 million in 2018, at an average annual rate of 0.9 per cent during the forecast period, reaching 62.0 million 2039.The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FAA said they plan to meet this growth in air travel with robust infrastructure investments through the Airport Improvement Program while satellite-based, air traffic modernisation technologies and procedures will continue to be deployed by the FAA to enhance safety while improving efficiency in the nation’s airspace system.

The FAA aerospace forecast is the industry-wide standard of measurement of US aviation-related activities. The agency uses data, trends and other factors to develop the forecast, including generally accepted economic projections, surveys and information sent by the airlines to the DOT. Additionally, the scope of the report looks at all facets of aviation including commercial air travel, air cargo and private general aviation.

To learn more about the projected growth in US aviation, a fact sheet is also available