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Airlines carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services

Airlines carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services in 2018, an increase of 6.9 percent over 2017, representing an additional 284 million trips by air, according to performance figures released by the International Air Transport Association, IATA, on Wednesday. 

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 percent of available seats being filled, fuel efficiency improved by more than 12 percent 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 kilometers, LCC capacity grew by 13.4 percent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9 percent. LCCs accounted for 21 percent of global capacity in 2018, up from 11 percent in 2004. When looking at available seats, the global share of LCCs in 2018 was 29 percent, reflecting the short-haul nature of their business model. This is up from 16 percent 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.

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers systemwide, with market share of 37.1, or 1.6 billion passengers, an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the region’s passengers in 2017, the report noted. 

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

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