Record 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018

In its annual report, IATA also calls for more environment-friendly operations and government support

Air travel has never been as accessible as these days and more and more people have taken part in the segment. 

According to the new report by IATA — a major trade association of the world’s airlines — a record 4.4 billion passengers travelled by plane in 2018 alone. The figure represents an increase of 6.9 per cent over 2017.

 

Air travel has never been as accessible and popular — Shutterstock Record 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018
Air travel has never been so accessible and popular — Shutterstock
 

The new data also underline an increase in efficiency with 81.9 per cent of available seats being filled over the year. Similarly, fuel efficiency reportedly improved by more than 12 per cent compared to 2010. 

In addition, the annual report also confirms the trend of low-cost carriers (LCCs) strengthening their positions in the segment. In 2018, the LCC capacity grew by 13.4 per cent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate. 

When looking at available seats, the global share of LCCs in 2018 was 29 per cent. This represents an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2004.

By 2050, airlines will cut net carbon footprint to half 2005 levels

While the air travel segment continues to grow in large scale, the major players also acknowledge its impact on the environment. 

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

 

IATA has urged to significantly reduce net carbon footprint — Shutterstock Record 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018
IATA has urged to significantly reduce net carbon footprint — Shutterstock

“As with any human activity, this comes with an environmental cost that airlines are committed to reducing.”

To tackle the environmental issues, the association has set target goals for upcoming decades. 

“We understand that sustainability is essential to our license to spread aviation’s benefits. From 2020 we will cap net carbon emissions growth. And, by 2050, we will cut our net carbon footprint to half 2005 levels,” Juniac added.

“This ambitious climate action goal needs government support. It is critical for sustainable aviation fuels, new technology and more efficient routes to deliver the greener future we are aiming for.” 

Asia Pacific still dominates the skies

The IATA’s annual report also suggests other interesting trends. For instance, airlines in the Asia-Pacific remain the busiest on a global scale.

 

Carrying over 1.6 billion passengers in 2018 alone, the airlines of Asia Pacific region take 31.7 per cent of the global market share.

With 26.2 per cent of the market share and 1.1 billion passengers, the second place belongs to Europe, while North America took the third rank with 989.4 million passengers and 22.6 per cent of the market share.

The top five nationalities travelling on international routes:

  1. United Kingdom (126.2 million, or 8.6 per cent of all passengers)
  2. United States (111.5 million, or 7.6 per cent of all passengers)
  3. The People’s Republic of China (97 million, or 6.6 per cent of all passengers)
  4. Germany (94.3 million, or 6.4 per cent of all passengers)
  5. France (59.8 million, or 4.1 per cent of all passengers)

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometres flown:

  1. American Airlines (330.6 billion)
  2. Delta Air Lines (330 billion)
  3. United Airlines (329.6 billion)
  4. Emirates (302.3 billion)
  5. Southwest Airlines (214.6 billion)