Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. aircraft, center, sit on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg)

China to Surpass U.S. as World’s Largest Aviation Market by 2024

(Bloomberg) -- China is set to overtake the U.S. to become the world’s largest aviation market by passengers by 2024 as more people take to the skies domestically and internationally, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The number of people flying to, from and within China will almost double to 927 million annually by 2025, from 487 million last year, according to forecasts from IATA made in an e-mailed statement, and reach 1.3 billion by 2035. In comparison, passengers in the U.S. will increase to 904 million by 2025, from 657 million last year, according to the predictions.

Global passenger travel is predicted to surge, with most of that growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region as economies expand and more people can afford to fly. India is set to surpass the U.K. as the world’s third-largest aviation market by 2025, according to IATA, with 263 million passengers compared with 256 million, it said in an e-mail.

“People want to fly,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and chief executive officer said in a report this week. “Runways, terminals, security and baggage systems, air traffic control, and a whole raft of other elements need to be expanded to be ready for the growing number of flyers.”

China to Surpass U.S. as World’s Largest Aviation Market by 2024

Boeing Co., the world’s biggest planemaker, expects the Asia-Pacific region will need over 15,000 new planes and more than half a million new pilots and technicians over the next 20 years as economic growth boosts air travel.