By 2035, passenger traffic and freight volume should be double, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In Europe, the SESAR program includes many proposals for improvement to cope with this overload. To respond positively, current air traffic management strategies and equipment must be modernized. Efforts and adaptation are required from all air service providers to meet market needs in a context of increasing traffic.

What are the main reasons for this growth?

There are many reasons for the increase in air traffic. The main cause is economic and demographic growth: the growing middle-class is stimulating airline activity. With global economic growth of 3% per year by 2035, air traffic is expected to grow by an average of 6% per year over the same period. The second development factor is the emergence of low-cost airlines offering competitive prices on popular destinations. They contribute to a high level of air traffic intensification in Europe: today, they represent one quarter of world traffic and more than 40% of traffic in Europe. These companies also have a significant impact on the prices of global Airlines by stimulating the latter to reduce ticket prices.

The current ATM sector needs to continue efforts to support this increase

The increase in air traffic requires the recruitment of new pilots: ICAO forecasts that 620,000 new pilots will have to be trained over the next ten years. Today, existing pilot training programs don’t meet this objective and require very long periods to be operational.

Similarly, on the ground, airport infrastructure also needs to be adapted to support this increase. Indeed, most airports are too small to support the overall airline activity.

To be prepared for the future, the ATM community must, at its level, modernize its tools to meet this growth. Today, several actions are being carried out in order to continue to improve. Consequently, the air transport sector is thus facing many challenges. One of the most important challenges is to more effectively address environmental issues with the aim of providing long-term solutions.