Sun | Sep 26, 2021

IATA report shows growing air connectivity

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:15 AM
Latam Airlines
Latam Airlines

The IATA World Air Transport Statistics (2019 WATS) confirms that

• 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018.

• 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.

• 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-kilometre, or RTK).

“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 licence 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.

Highlights of the 2018 airline industry performance:


• System-wide, airlines carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services, an ­increase of 6.9 per cent over 2017, ­representing an additional 284 million trips by air.

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

• Measured in ASKs (available seat kilometres), LCC capacity grew by 13.4 per cent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9%. 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.

• Some 52 of IATA’s 290 current member airlines classify themselves as LCCs and other new-model airlines.

• Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers system-wide. 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 the region’s passengers in 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 4.0 per cent over 2017);

6. Africa – 2.1 per cent market share (92 million passengers, up 5.5 per cent over 2017)

American Airlines eats up the most amount of kilometres

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 again this year:

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 United Kingdom tops the travelling public

The top five ­nationalities traveling (international routes) are:

1. United Kingdom (126.2 million, or 8.6 per cent of all passengers);

2. United States (111.5 million, or 7.6 per cent of all passengers);

3. People’s Republic of China (97 million, or 6.6 per cent of all passengers);

4. Germany (94.3 million, or 6.4 per cent of all passengers);

5. France (59.8 million, or 4.1 per cent of all passengers).


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 kilometres (FTKs) showed a 3.4 per cent expansion as compared to 9.7 per cent in 2017. With capacity increasing by 5.2 per cent in 2018, the freight load factor fell by 0.8 percentage point to 49.3 per cent.

The top five airlines ranked by scheduled freight tonne kilometres flown were:

• Federal Express (17.5 billion)

• Emirates (12.7 billion)

• Qatar Airways (12.7 billion)

• United Parcel Service (12.5 billion)

• Cathay Pacific Airways (11.3 billion)

Airline Alliances

Star Alliance maintained its position as the largest airline alliance in 2018 with 21.9 per cent of total scheduled traffic (in RPKs), followed by SkyTeam (18.8 per cent) and oneworld (15.4 per cent).