IATA report finds global passenger traffic up 6.9% in 2018 to 4.4bn

posted on 31st July 2019 by Justin Burns
IATA report finds global passenger traffic up 6.9% in 2018 to 4.4bn

The 2019 IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report has found that 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018, an increase of 6.9 per cent on 2017.

Last year, record efficiency was also achieved with 81.9 per cent of available seats being filled on flights, while fuel efficiency improved by more than 12 per cent compared to 2010.

WATS found 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 was also said to have more than halved over the last 20 years (to around 78 US cents per revenue tonne-kilometer, or RTK).

Development of the low-cost carrier (LCC) segment also continues to outpace that of network carriers, according to the report, as LCC capacity grew by 13.4 per cent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9 per cent.

IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac (pictured left) 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. 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.”

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

  1. Asia-Pacific 37.1 per cent market share (1.6 billion passengers, an increase of 9.2 per cent compared to 2017) 
  2. Europe 26.2 per cent market share (1.1 billion passengers, up 6.6 per cent over 2017) 
  3. North America 22.6 per cent market share (989.4 million passengers, up 4.8 per cent over 2017)
  4. Latin America 6.9 per cent market share (302.2 million passengers, up 5.7 per cent over 2017)
  5. Middle East 5.1  per cent market share (224.2 million passengers, an increase of four per cent over 2017) 
  6. Africa 2.1 per cent market share (92 million passengers, up 5.5 per cent over 2017). 

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

  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)

The top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs were all within the Asia-Pacific region:

  1. Hong Kong – Taipei Taoyuan (5.4 million, down 0.4 per cent from 2017) 
  2. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Hong Kong (3.4 million, increased 8.8 per cent from 2017)
  3. Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta – Singapore Changi (3.2 million, decreased 3.3 per cent from 2017)
  4. Seoul-Incheon – Osaka-Kansai (2.9 million, an increase of 16.5 per cent from 2017)
  5. Kuala Lumpur–International – Singapore Changi (2.8 million, up 2.1 per cent from 2017)

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

  1. Jeju – Seoul Gimpo (14.5 million, up 7.6 per cent over 2017)
  2. Fukuoka – Tokyo Haneda (7.6 million, an increase of 0.9 per cent from 2017) 
  3. Melbourne-Tullamarine – Sydney (7.6 million, down 2.1 per cent from 2017)
  4. Sapporo – Tokyo-Haneda (7.3 million, decreased by 1.5 per cent from 2017) 
  5. Beijing Capital – Shanghai Hongqiao (6.4 million, up 0.4 per cent from 2017)

The top five nationalities traveling (international routes) are: 

  • UK (126.2 million, or 8.6 per cent of all passengers)
  • USA (111.5 million, or 7.6 per cent of all passengers)
  • People’s Republic of China (97 million, or 6.6 per cent of all passengers)
  • Germany (94.3 million, or 6.4 per cent of all passengers)
  • France (59.8 million, or 4.1 per cent of all passengers)