7 Interesting Stats Revealed about Global Air Traffic
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Did you know North American airlines account for almost one-quarter of international air travel? And, believe it or not with oversold flights making news in the US, that flights on European carriers are more packed than the US?
On Thursday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released international air traffic stats and trends from August. While only true aviation nerds would want to read the whole thing, there are some fascinating stats and trends discussed in the data. Here are some noteworthy items.
1. Worldwide Air Travel Increased 7.2% from August 2016 to August 2017
More people are taking to the skies than ever, with air travel growing at a healthy 7.2% over last year. While that number might not seem large, growth at 7.2% per year means that the global aviation market will double every 10 years.
2. European Airlines Have the Most Full Flights
With Ryanair leading with a jaw-dropping 97% load factor, European airlines sold around 88% of available seat miles for August 2017. North American airlines came in second with a 86.1% load factor. Within the North American market, the US domestic market was a slight drag with a 85.6% load in August.
3. India’s Domestic Market is Growing Spectacularly
Year-over-year India’s domestic market grew an incredible 16%, making August 2017 the 36th consecutive month of double-digit traffic growth. This level of growth is hard to fathom. At this rate, the market will more than double every five years.
That said, India’s domestic market is still relatively tiny, covering just 1.3% of the world’s air travel despite the fact that 18% of the Earth’s population is Indian. Even at its incredible 16% growth rate, India’s domestic market is decades away from matching the US domestic market — which makes up 15% of the world’s entire passenger air traffic.
4. The Growth of Middle East Airlines is Slowing
Even after the end of the electronics ban, Middle Eastern airlines are having trouble keeping up the explosive growth of the last few years. Growing 5.5% from August 2016 to August 2017, the region wasn’t far behind the average growth worldwide. However, this 5.5% growth falls well below the region’s five-year average pace of 11.1%. This slowdown may be primarily driven by airlines being more cautious, as available seat miles grew by just 5.1% and planes were slightly more full in August 2017 than August 2016.
5. Australia’s Domestic Market is Contracting
Worldwide domestic traffic grew on average by 7.9% year-over-year in August. But there was one region that bucked the trend: Australia. Airlines there reduced their schedules by 2.9% year-over-year, leading to a slight 0.1% decrease in kilometers flown intra-Australia.
6. Two-Thirds of North American Carrier Air Traffic is Domestic
This may not be surprising considering the large relative size of the United States to countries in Europe, but 66% of revenue miles flown on North American carriers are on domestic flights. This makes North American airlines the most reliant of any on domestic traffic.
7. Only 4% of Middle Eastern Carrier Traffic is Domestic
On the flip side, the region least reliant on domestic traffic is the Middle East. Considering how most airlines based in the region, and especially in the United Arab Emirates, focus on long-haul flights and how compact Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are, it’s actually surprising that the domestic traffic figure is as high as 4%. A lot of it may be concentrated in Saudi Arabia.
Which of these figures surprised you?
Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.