GENEVA: Airlines around the world carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services in 2018, an increase of 6.9 per cent over 2017, representing an additional 284 million trips by air, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The report also showcased the top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger-kilometres flown. American Airlines topped this list with 330.6 billion, with Delta Airlines coming slightly behind with 330 billion and United Airlines standing in third place with 329.6 billion. Rounding out the list, Emirates flew 302.3 billion passengers with Southwest Airlines coming in at 214.6 billion.
Showing that global air connectivity continues to become more accessible and more efficient, the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (2019 WATS) confirmed that 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 while 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.
Measured in ASKs, available seat kilometres, low-cost carrier (LCC) capacity grew by 13.4 per cent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9 per cent. LCCs accounted for 21 per cent of global capacity in 2018, up from 11 per cent in 2004. When looking at available seats, the global share of LCCs in 2018 was 29 per cent, reflecting the short-haul nature of their business model. This is up from 16 per cent in 2004, the report indicated.
Some 52 of Iata’s 290 current member airlines classify themselves as LCCs, and other new model airlines.
“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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.