2017 sees aviation industry carry record 4.1 billion passengers on scheduled services

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According to preliminary figures released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 2017 saw a 7.1% increase to a record figure of 4.1 billion for the number of passengers carried by the aviation industry. While the number of departures, globally, rose to circa 37 million, world passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger-kilometers (RPKs) was up 7.6% at 7.7 trillion RPKs.
According to ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu: “The sustainability of the tremendous growth in international civil air traffic is demonstrated by the continuous improvements to its safety, security, efficiency and environmental footprint. This sustainability is the result of concerted efforts and cooperation at the national, regional, and global levels, particularly in terms of ICAO compliancy, which is key to accessing the global network.”
ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu added that: “Air traffic growth is making key contributions towards the achievement of United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, offering an opportunity to lift a generation out of poverty, figuratively and literally. As a UN agency, ICAO is deeply committed to ensuring that all countries have an opportunity to benefit from the doubling in flight and passenger volumes forecast for the next 15 years.”
Other than the Middle East, regions recorded stronger growth than in the previous year for international scheduled passenger traffic expressed in terms of RPKs, at 8.0% in 2017, up from the 7.8% recorded in 2016.
As far as low-cost carrier (LCC) activity was concerned, its market share continued to increase, particularly in emerging economies. In 2017, LCCs carried an estimated 1.2 billion passengers and accounted for approximately 30% of the world total of scheduled passengers. LCCs consistently grew at a faster pace compared to the world average.
Load factors improved to a record high, and in 2017, expressed in available seat-kilometers (ASKs), they increased globally by around 6.4%. As a result, the overall passenger load factor improved by 0.9 percentage points, reaching 81.2%.
Underpinned by improving global economic conditions, and world trade with increasing import and export orders, air cargo demonstrated a strong performance in 2017. World scheduled freight traffic, measured in freight ton-kilometers (FTK) increased by 9.5% in 2017, as opposed to 3.8% in 2016.
Though jet fuel prices increased, the airline industry anticipates ending 2017 with another record operating profit of approximately US$60 billion, with an operating margin of 8.0%. The net profits for the industry are expected to be around US$36 billion.

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