Airlines Carried 3.8 Billion Passengers In 2016, US Citizens Still The No.1 Traveller In The World- IATA Industrial Report


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released global industry performance statistics for 2016 confirming that airlines carried 3.8 billion passengers on scheduled services last year, a rise of 7% on that of 2015 – equal to an additional 242m air trips.

This information and many other useful statistics related to traffic, top airlines and leading airport pairings are all taken from the 2017 edition of the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) – the official airline industry performance year book.

Beginning with airlines, those based in the Asia-Pacific region carried the most passengers with the global region ranking broken down as follows: Asia-Pacific 35% market share (1.3bn +11.3% compared to 2015); Europe 26% market share (992.4m +6.1%); North America 24% market share (911.5m +3%); Latin America 7% market share (275.1m +1.8%); Middle East 5% market share (206.1m +9.1%); Africa 2% market share 84m +6%).

In terms of airlines, the top five scheduled carriers for domestic and international were: Southwest Airlines (151.8m); American Airlines (144.2m); Delta Air Lines (143.3m); China Southern Airlines (114.5m); and Ryanair (112m).

At the same time, the top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs were almost identical to 2015, and all were within the Asia-Pacific region. They were: Hong Kong-Taipei (5.2m +2.1% from 2015); Jakarta-Singapore (3.4m +0.9%); Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Hong Kong (3m minus -3.14%); Kuala Lumpur–Singapore (2.8m +3.3%); and Hong Kong-Seoul (2.8m minus -15%).

Lastly, the top five domestic passenger airport-pairs – also in the Asia-Pacific region – were: Jeju-Seoul Gimpo (11.6m +4.6% over 2015); Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda (7.7m minus -1.2%); Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (7.3m minus -4%); Melbourne-Tullamarine-Sydney (7.3m minus -4.6%); and Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City (6.4m +16.2%).

The highlights related to passengers by nationality were as follows. US Citizens are currently the world’s most prevalent travellers. IATA says some 810m passengers travelled on US passports in 2016, comprising 21% of all passengers worldwide.

Internationally, American citizens also took top place, comprising 9.5% of all travellers. This was followed by UK citizens (7.8%), Germany (6.5%), China (6.4%) and France (4.1%). Domestically, US citizens were also the most prevalent travellers at 29.9%, followed by China (19.0%), India (5.2%), Indonesia (4.4%) and Japan (3.5%).

In terms of airline alliances, Star Alliance maintained its position as the largest airline alliance in 2016 with 38% of total scheduled traffic (in RPK), followed by SkyTeam (33%) and oneworld (29%).

The 2017 WATS and WATS+ are available for purchase on IATA’s website


About Author

Akin Akingbala is an international journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Aside being happily married, he has interests in music, sports and loves traveling.

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