At its annual Aviation Forecast Conference, the FAA projected that US airlines will grow passenger capacity at an annual average rate of 3.1% over the next two decades, reaching 1.89 trillion ASMs by 2032 and 1.57 trillion RPMs by 2032, down 15.8% from the 3.8% average annual passenger traffic growth rate predicted by the agency last year. “In the near-term we see a pause in growth followed by modest increases,” said FAA executive director-aviation policy Nan Shellabarger. System RPMs are projected to rise just 0.5% year-over-year in 2012 and passenger traffic growth rates will slowly pick up in future years.

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