More Planes and Passengers Than Ever Expected to Fill the Skies in 2024

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Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

Record numbers of people are expected to travel in 2024, with an estimated 4.7 billion people traveling on planes, according to new travel industry reports.

Traveler numbers continue to rebound from the pandemic and are poised to reach and even exceed levels not seen since 2019, when 4.5 billion airline passengers were reported.

“Airlines [have] come roaring back to pre-pandemic levels of connectivity,” said an industry spokesperson. “The speed of the recovery has been extraordinary, yet it also appears that the pandemic has cost aviation about four years of growth. [For] 2024, the outlook indicates that we can expect more normal growth patterns for both passenger and cargo.”

Airline industry net profits are expected to reach $25.7 billion in 2024, although a 2.7 percent net profit margin means that airlines “will retain just $5.45 for every passenger carried.” Industry profits are hampered by regulation, fragmentation, high infrastructure costs and limited completion in its supply chain.

Record Numbers of People Hopping on Planes Next Year

More people flying than ever also will mean record numbers of flights, with 40.1 million flights expected in 2024, exceeding the 2019 peak of 38.9 million flights.

Passenger surveys indicate that one-third of people say they are traveling more now than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 49 percent saying that their travel habits are about the same and 18 percent saying they travel less now than they did pre-pandemic.

Industry surveys also found that 44 percent of passengers expect to travel more in the next year, while 48 percent said they plan to travel about the same amount and only 7 percent expect to travel less than they did in the previous year.

Further survey results paint a rosy picture of traveler satisfaction:

  • 88 percent of passengers say air travel makes their lives better
  • 89 percent said air travel is a necessity of modern life
  • 88 percent believe air travel has a positive impact on society
  • 80 percent viewed air travel as good value for money spent

Measured in 2018 dollars, the average roundtrip airfare in 2023 was $254, compared to an average of $315 in 2019, according to the airline industry group. However, rising oil prices due to wars in Ukraine and the Middle East and other factors, could cause prices to rise. Other threats to industry profits and airfare costs include lagging economic growth, continued problems with supply chains and increased regulation.

This post first appeared on Prevue’s sister publication’s site,

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