Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) Enplanements

The Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) is the official FAA forecast of aviation activity for U.S. airports. It contains historical and forecast data for enplanements, airport operations, TRACON operations and based aircraft.

The purpose of the TAF is to meet the budget and planning needs of the constituent units of the FAA and to provide information to state and local authorities, the aviation industry, and the general public. The TAF Data System is an integral part of the FAA’s forecasting function of the FAA Forecast Branch.

Volanno is the original architect and developer of the TAF software. Our expertise with database maintenance and data integrity optimization has consistently delivered punctual and comprehensive forecasts relied upon by important stakeholders such as FAA management, airport officials, finance groups, and the U.S. Congress.

Below is a racing bar chart visualization using the TAF enplanements data to rank airports by the total number of reported and forecast enplanements from 1976 to 2045. Enplanements is the number of passengers who arrive depart or transfer at any airport.

Population centers that are served by multiple airports, often see a large number of enplanements. To visualize these centers, we conglomerate them as follows:

New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Atlanta: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Chicago: Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Midway International Airport (MDW)
Los Angeles:Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Denver: Denver International Airport (DEN)
Dallas: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Bay Area: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Washington DC: Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

• The region with the highest number of enplanements is historically, and forecast to be in the future, New York. In 2002 and 2003, the Chicago Area ranked higher than New York.
• Historically, Chicago has the second highest number of enplanements, except in 2002 and 2003 when it switched places with New York. Since 2008, and forecast into the future, Atlanta has had and will have the second highest number of enplanements.
• Washington DC peaked at fourth highest enplanements between 2004 and 2012, largely due to enplanements at IAD the only airport in the top 20 in that region. Washington DC is forecast to jump to number 5 in 2022 until it is surpassed by Dallas in 2024, Denver in 2029, and the Bay Area in 2035 ultimately ending up 8th.