Today’s airports are like cities in miniature – and not just international hubs, smaller regional airports, as well. Like municipalities, airports oversee police forces, emergency services, security personnel, parking facilities, and commercial tenants, among other third-party entities. Airports’ statutory responsibilities cover public safety, environmental health and safety, and the protective security of critical infrastructure assets. And therefore, they face a dizzying number of regulations, doled out by local, state, federal, even global enforcement agencies.
So far, airports have held up admirably to the pressure. Indeed, the sector has achieved an enviable safety record, zealously maintained through constant vigilance.
But now, airports face a new challenge altogether: the specter of unprecedented growth. The broader aviation industry is set to double in size over the next two decades. The number of employees affiliated with the industry alone will increase from 65 million to nearly 100 million in twenty years. Passenger and freighter aircraft is also projected to double from 23,000 to 48,000 by 2038.
And we haven’t even gotten to the number of passengers flying. In 2018, 4.4 billion people flew. The 2037 forecast is 8.2 billion air passengers.
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