Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Carriers flew 7% more passengers in 2018; cargo growth was more modest, says IATA  

Airlines saw a nearly 7% increase in passengers carried in 2018, while air freight volumes grew more modestly in line with global trade volumes, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its 2019 World Air Transport Statistics report.

System-wide, airlines carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services last year, an increase of 6.9% over 2017, representing an additional 284 million trips by air, the report said.

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers. The region had a 37.1% market share in 2018, carrying 1.6 billion passengers, an increase of 9.2% compared to the region’s passengers in 2017.

The development of the low-cost carrier (LCC) segment continues to outpace that of network carriers, added the report.

Measured in available seat kilometers, LCC capacity grew by 13.4%, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9%. LCCs accounted for 21% of global capacity in 2018, up from 11% in 2004.

When looking at available seats, the global share of LCCs in 2018 was 29%, reflecting the short-haul nature of their business model. This is up from 16% in 2004.

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.

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown were American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Emirates, and Southwest Airlines.

The top five international/regional passenger airport pairs were all within the Asia-Pacific region again this year. They were Hong Kong – Taipei Taoyuan, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Hong Kong, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta – Singapore Changi, Seoul-Incheon – Osaka-Kansai, and Kuala Lumpur-International – Singapore Changi.

The top five nationalities traveling on international routes were the United Kingdom, United States, China, Germany, and France.

Following a very strong year in 2017, air freight volumes grew more modestly in 2018 in line with global trade volumes. Globally, freight and mail tonne kilometers showed a 3.4% expansion as compared to 9.7% in 2017. With capacity increasing by 5.2% in 2018, the freight load factor fell by 0.8 percentage point to 49.3%.

The top five airlines ranked by scheduled freight tonne kilometers flown were Federal Express, Emirates, Qatar Airways, United Parcel Service, and Cathay Pacific Airways.

Photo: KCS

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