India is expected to have 478 million air passengers in 2036 on the back of strong demand, global airlines' grouping IATA said on Tuesday.
The country is projected to see a staggering growth from 141 million passengers in 2016.
Releasing its 20-year passenger forecast, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said globally a total of 7.8 billion passengers are expected to travel in 2036, with Asia-Pacific region leading the demand.
China is expected to fly the highest number of passengers at 1.5 billion, of which 921 million would be the new ones followed by the United States with 1.1 billion, including 401 million new passengers) in 2036, IATA said.
India would be the third fastest growing market, with an expected addition of 337 million new passengers, taking the total to 478 million, it added.
According to IATA, Indonesia with 355 million passengers, including 235 million new ones would be the fourth fastest growing aviation market in 2036. It would be followed by Turkey where the total is expected to be 196 million passengers, including 119 million new passengers.
Noting that the Asia-Pacific region would be the biggest driver of demand, the grouping said the region would be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next two decades.
"The point at which China will displace the US as the world's largest aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the country) has moved two years closer since last year's forecast.
"We now anticipate this will occur around 2022, through a combination of slightly faster Chinese growth and slightly reduced growth in the US. The UK will fall to fifth place, surpassed by India in 2025, and Indonesia in 2030," it said.
Further, the grouping said that routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific would see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, for an overall market size of 3.5 billion.
"Its annual average growth rate of 4.6 per cent will be the third-highest, behind Africa and the Middle East," IATA said.
IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said all indicators lead to growing demand for global connectivity.
"The world needs to prepare for a doubling of passengers in the next 20 years. It is also a huge challenge for governments and industry to ensure we can successfully meet this essential demand," he added.