IATA study monitors travel boom

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MONTREAL, 10 September 2018: Worldwide annual air passengers exceeded 4 billion in 2017 for the first time, driven by an improvement in global economic conditions and lower average airfares, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced at the weekend.

IATA released its World Air Transport Statistics report for 2017 that showed airlines connected a record number of cities, worldwide, providing regular services to over 20,000 city pairs* in 2017, more than double the level of 1995.

The report concluded that the increases in direct services improved the industry’s efficiency by cutting costs and saving time for both travellers and cargo shippers alike.

This information is included in the recently released 62nd Edition of the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance.

“In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure and education. Aviation is the business of freedom,” said, IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

2017 performance highlights:

Passenger system-wide, airlines carried 4.1 billion passengers on scheduled services, an increase of 7.3% over 2016, representing an additional 280 million trips by air.

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers.

The regional rankings (passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) are:

Asia-Pacific 36.3% market share (1.5 billion passengers, an increase of 10.6% compared to the region’s passengers in 2016)
Europe 26.3% market share (1.1 billion passengers, up 8.2% over 2016)
North America 23% market share (941.8 million, up 3.2% over 2016)
Latin America 7% market share (286.1 million, up 4.1% over 2016)
Middle East 5.3% market share (216.1 million, an increase of 4.6% over 2016)
Africa 2.2% market share (88.5 million, up 6.6% over 2016).

Top five airlines ranked by scheduled passenger km flown, are:

American Airlines (324 million)
Delta Air Lines (316.3 million)
United Airlines (311 million)
Emirates Airline (289 million)
Southwest Airlines (207.7 million)

Top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs were all within the Asia-Pacific region, again this year:

Hong Kong-Taipei Taoyuan (5.4 million, up 1.8% from 2016)
Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta-Singapore (3.3 million, up 0.8% from 2016)
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Hong Kong (3.1 million, increase of 3.5% from 2016)
Kuala Lumpur–Singapore (2.8 million, down. 0.3% from 2016)
Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon (2.7 million, down 2.2% from 2016)

Top five domestic passenger airport-pairs were also all in the Asia-Pacific region:

Jeju-Seoul Gimpo (13.5 million, up 14.8% over 2016)
Melbourne Tullamarine-Sydney (7.8 million, up 0.4% from 2016)
Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (7.6 million, an increase of 6.1% from 2016)
Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda (7.4 million, up 4.6% from 2016)
Beijing Capital-Shanghai Hongqiao (6.4 million, up 1.9% from 2016)

New to the WATS report is a ranking of passenger traffic by nationality, as opposed to country of residence, for international and domestic travel

United States of America (632 million, representing 18.6% of all passengers)
People’s Republic of China (555 million or 16.3% of all passengers)
India (161.5 million or 4.7% of all passengers)
United Kingdom (147 million or 4.3% of all passengers)
Germany (114.4 million or 3.4% of all passengers)

The complete 62nd WATS is available for purchase on IATA’s website at www.iata.org/wats.

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