2018 international air travel grew 6.9pc, UK citizens biggest global travellers: IATA

It stated while record efficiency was achieved with 81.9pc of available seats being filled, fuel efficiency improved 12 pc compared to 2010.

New Delhi: A record of 4.4 billion people flew last year across the world registering a growth in passengers' air-travel of 6.9pc over 2017 which also represented an additional 284 million trips by air. This has come up in the performance figures of 2018 Airline Industry Statistics, released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), showing that global air connectivity continues to become more accessible and more efficient.

The top five nationalities travelling (international routes) were United Kingdom (126.2 million, or 8.6pc of all passengers), United States (111.5 million, or 7.6pc of all passengers), China (97 million, or 6.6pc of all passengers), Germany (94.3 million, or 6.4pc of all passengers) and France (59.8 million, or 4.1pc of all passengers), the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (2019 WATS) said.

It stated that while record efficiency was achieved with 81.9 per cent of available seats being filled, fuel efficiency improved by more than 12 per cent compared to 2010. It also informed that 22,000 city pairs are now connected by direct flights, up 1,300 over 2017 and double the 10,250 city pairs connected in 1998.

The real cost of air transport has more than halved over the last 20 years (to around 78 US cents per revenue tonne-kilometer, or RTK), according to IATA data. Among the airline alliances, Star Alliance maintained its position as the largest airline alliance in 2018 with 21.9 pc of total scheduled traffic (in RPKs), followed by SkyTeam (18.8 pc) and oneworld (15.4 pc).

IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said,‘’Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result. As with any human activity this comes with an environmental cost that airlines are committed to reducing. We understand that sustainability is essential to our license to spread aviation’s benefits."

He added, "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."

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers systemwide. The regional rankings (based on total passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) are Asia-Pacific 37.1pc market share (1.6 billion passengers, an increase of 9.2pc compared to the region’s passengers in 2017), Europe 26.2pc market share (1.1 billion passengers, up 6.6pc over 2017), North America 22.6pc market share (989.4 million passengers, up 4.8pc over 2017), Latin America 6.9pc market share (302.2 million passengers, up 5.7pc over 2017), Middle East 5.1 pc market share (224.2 million passengers, an increase of 4.0pc over 2017) and Africa 2.1pc market share (92 million passengers, up 5.5pc over 2017).

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown, 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).

The top five international-regional passenger airport-pairs were all within the Asia-Pacific region again this year Hong Kong-Taipei Taoyuan (5.4 million, down 0.4pc from 2017), Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Hong Kong (3.4 million, increased 8.8pc from 2017), Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta - Singapore Changi (3.2 million, decreased 3.3pc from 2017), Seoul-Incheon - Osaka-Kansai (2.9 million, an increase of 16.5pc from 2017) and Kuala Lumpur-International-Singapore Changi (2.8 million, up 2.1pc from 2017)

The top five domestic passenger airport-pairs were also all in the Asia-Pacific region. They are Jeju - Seoul Gimpo (14.5 million, up 7.6pc over 2017), Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (7.6 million, an increase of 0.9pc from 2017), Melbourne-Tullamarine-Sydney (7.6 million, down 2.1pc from 2017), Sapporo - Tokyo-Haneda (7.3 million, decreased by 1.5pc from 2017) and Beijing Capital-Shanghai Hongqiao (6.4 million, up 0.4pc from 2017).

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