News: British, Americans, Chinese, Germans and French were the Biggest Air Travellers in 2018 As Aviation records growth

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that 2018 saw more passengers fly than ever before, record airline efficiency, record fuel efficiency and more city pairs connected than previously.

Additionally, the real cost of air transport last year was half of what it had cost 20 years ago. This information was contained in the ‘IATA World Air transport Statistics 2019’ report.

Last year saw 4.4-billion passengers fly, which was a 6.9% rise in comparison to 2017. This represented an increase of 284-million air trips. With this traffic, the airlines were able to fill 81.9% of their available seats. Fuel efficiency was more than 12% better than in 2010. The number of city pairs connected by direct flights was 1 300 greater than in 2017, bringing the total to 22 000. And the real cost of air transport is now some $0.78 per revenue (metric) ton kilometre.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before,” pointed out IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result.”

Overall, airline capacity (measured in available seat kilometres) grew by 6.9% last year. But low-cost carrier (LCC) capacity grew much faster – by 13.4%. LCCs were responsible for 21% of global air transport capacity in 2018, compared with 11% in 2004. With regard to available seats, LCCs had a worldwide share of 29% – a figure that was reflective of the fact that they focus on short-haul flights – compared with their share of 16% in 2004. Today, about 52 of IATA’s 290 member airlines classify themselves as LCCs.

The region with the biggest number of air passengers remains the Asia-Pacific, with 1.6-billion passengers, or 37.1% of the global total. Asia-Pacific air passenger traffic was 9.2% higher in 2018, in comparison to 2017. In second place was Europe, with 1.1-billion passengers (a 6.6% increase on 2017) and 26.2% of the total. North America was third, with 989.4-million passengers (a rise of 4.8% on 2017), and 22.6% of the global market. In fourth place was Latin America, with 302.2-million passengers (an increase of 5.7% on the previous year) and 6.9% of the market. Fifth was the Middle East – 224.2-million passengers, up 4% on 2017, and 5.1% of the total market. Sixth was Africa, with 92-million passengers, a 5.5% increase in relation to 2017, representing 2.1% of the global market.

Measured by total scheduled passenger kilometres flown, the world’s top five airlines in 2018 were American Airlines (330.6-billion), Delta Air Lines (330-billion), United Airlines (329.6-billion), Emirates (302.3-billion) and Southwest Airlines (214.6-billion). Defined by the passports they used to travel on, the top five air passenger nationalities were British (126.2-million, representing 8.6% of passengers worldwide), American (111.5-million, 7.6% of global passengers), Chinese (97-million, 6.6%), German (94.3-million, 6.4%) and French (59.8-million, 4.1%).

Regarding air cargo and air mail, measured in freight (metric) ton kilometres (FTKs), last year, this increased by 3.4% on 2017 (which had been a year of strong air cargo growth, seeing an increase of 9.7% on 2016). An increase of air cargo capacity of 5.2% in 2018 resulted in a 0.8% decrease in the load factor to 49.3%. In terms of scheduled FTKs, the top five air freight carriers were Federal Express (17.5-billion), Emirates (12.7-billion), Qatar Airways (12.7-billion), United Parcel Service (12.5-billion) and Cathay Pacific Airways (11.3-billion).

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


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