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Air travel is about to get even less glamorous

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For all the disagreement in the industry about the future of aviation, there's perfect accord on one point: There's going to be a lot more of it.

The world's air passengers flew a combined 7.64 trillion kilometres in 2017, according to Boeing's latest 20-year market outlook. By 2037, that will rise to 18.97 trillion kilometres, with about 40 per cent of the increase happening within five intra-regional markets: China, India, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

That's sparking a battle over the biggest bottleneck holding back this growth: airports. The governments that still own many of them should be more open to privatisation to cover a $US78 billion ($107.5 trillion) funding gap in needed capital investments, the Airports Council International, an industry group, argued in a report earlier this year.

Savour the boutique shopping at your next visit to an airport. Outside the walled gardens of business-class lounges, the future of aviation is likely to be a whole lot more functional.Credit:James Davies

Airlines, airports' biggest customers, see things differently: Costs at privatised terminals are higher and governments should be cautious about such actions in the interests of expanding the aviation sector as a whole, the carriers' body, the........

© The Age