All safety, efficiency and economic indicators show that air travel in the United States is strong, according to the FAA Aerospace Forecast Fiscal Years 2019-2039. Along with more than 25 percent growth in aircraft operations over the next 20 years FAA is advancing major airspace modernization and infrastructure improvements to meet this tremendous projected growth.
The forecast also highlights the phenomenal growth of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones. The FAA projects the small model UAS fleet to grow from 1.2 million vehicles in 2018 to 1.4 million in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 2.2 percent. The commercial, small non-model UAS fleet is forecast to nearly triple from 277,386 in 2018 to 835,211 in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 24.7 percent.
The FAA aerospace forecast is the industry-wide standard of measurement of U.S. 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.