More than 7% increase in air travel year-on-year declares IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced industry performance statistics for 2016 showing that system-wide, airlines carried 3.8 billion passengers on scheduled services last year, an increase of 7% over 2015, representing an additional 242 million air trips. This information is included in the 2017 edition of the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance.

Highlights of the 2016 airline industry performance:


Once again, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carried the largest number of passengers. The regional ranking (based on total passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) is:

Source: IATA
Source: IATA

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passengers carried (domestic and international) were:

Source: IATA

The top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs were almost the same as they were in 2015, and all were within the Asia-Pacific region:

Source: IATA

The top five domestic passenger airport-pairs were also all in the Asia-Pacific region:

Passenger Traffic by Nationality

 Highlights include:

  • US Citizens are the world’s most prevalent travellers. Some 810 million 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:
    • The UK (7.8%);
    • Germany (6.5%);
    • China (6.4%); and
    • France (4.1%).
  • Domestically, US citizens were also the most prevalent travellers at 29.9%, This was followed by:
    • China (19.0%);
    • India (5.2%);
    • Indonesia (4.4%); and
    • Japan (3.5%).


New Model Airlines

New Model Airlines (NMAs), a classification that includes Low Cost Carriers (LCCs), accounted for 28.3% of all passengers in 2016, up from 27.1% of passengers in 2015. Network carriers account for 69.5% of total passengers


The top five airlines ranked by total freight tonnes carried on scheduled services were:

Source: IATA


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%).

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