The World Is Taking Flight | American Funds

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“History shows that as economies develop and populations gain wealth, one of the first things they do is fly.”

Todd Saligman, Investment Analyst

As Disposable Income Rises, Travel Becomes an Affordable Luxury

Developing countries are fueling the world’s air traffic growth. The Asia-Pacific region, including India and China, will drive half of the world’s air traffic growth during the next 20 years. In China alone, the number of people flying could double to 100 million during that time.

Going Places: People Around the World Are on the Move

China started working on a new airport near Beijing on December 26, 2014. The airport, which is being designed by Netherlands Airport Consultants, is expected to be completed in 2018 and cost about $14 billion.

China leads the world in airport construction, and this will be Beijing’s second international airport. But airports are taking off all around the world. Globally, $543 billion worth of projects are in progress, according to research by CAPA Centre for Aviation.

The Rise of a New Jet Set Means 38,000 Planes May Be Built in the Next 20 Years

Asia-Pacific region, including China and India, is driving much of the increase in the world’s air traffic. Millions of people are taking to the skies in that region. The demand is expected to be so great that Boeing, one of the world’s largest airplane makers, predicts that 38,050 new planes, valued at $5.6 trillion, will be in the air by 2034.

Sources: Euromonitor International (disposable income and air travel expenditure in China); Airports Council International (ACI), adapted from full-year 2014 airport traffic data published by ACI, and Momberger Airport Information (world's busiest airports); CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Premium Airports Database, centreforaviation.com/data/airports (worldwide airport construction projects); and Boeing (airplane production). Disposable income, which represents gross income minus social security contributions and income taxes, refers to the amount of income in 2014 prices. Air travel expenditure is based on constant 2014 prices and fixed 2014 exchange rates for both historic and projected data. Values beyond 2014 are estimates. Total number of passengers for the world's busiest airports does not include projected number of passengers for Daxing. Airport construction projects are for existing airports with projects either in progress or planned for and with a good chance of completion. The combined investment amount of construction projects for the regions shown does not add up to the total value due to rounding. Airplanes represent passenger and freight planes. Number of airplanes for Europe includes the Commonwealth of Independent States, a confederation of nations that were formerly constituent republics of the Soviet Union.


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Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. 

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and not to be comprehensive or to provide advice.