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African airlines account for 92 million out of 4.4 billion yearly global traffic

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[FILE] Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 PHOTO:Wikipedia

African airlines have continued on the path of slow growth accounting for only 92 million out of the 4.4 billion air passenger traffic recorded globally in 2018.

The 92 million or 2.1 per cent of the global market is the lowest of all the regions, but also a 5.5 per cent improvement compared to 2017 figures.

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) performance figures for 2018, released yesterday, attributed the minimal surge in Africa and the world at large to more accessible and efficient global air connectivity.

The IATA World Air Transport Statistics 2019 WATS showed that 4.4 billion passengers flew in 2018. Record efficiency was achieved with 81.9 per cent of available seats being filled.

Also, 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 U.S. cents per revenue tonne-kilometer.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said airlines were connecting more people and places than ever before; the freedom to fly is more accessible than ever, and the world is a more prosperous place as a result. But with prosperity comes fresh challenges.

“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 license 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,” de Juniac said.

More highlights of the 2018 airline industry performance showed that 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 available seat kilometers, LCC capacity grew by 13.4 per cent, almost doubling the overall industry growth rate of 6.9 per cent. 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, has the Asia-Pacific with 1.6 billion passengers or 37.1 per cent market share.

Europe ferried 1.1 billion passengers or 26.2 per cent market share in the period under review. North America carried 989.4 million passengers or 22.6 per cent of the market share. Latin America had 6.9 per cent market share from 302.2 million passengers ferried in 2018. Middle East had 5.1 per cent market share from 224.2 million passengers, while had Africa 2.1 per cent market share from 92 million passengers.

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown, were: American Airlines with 330.6 billion; Delta Air Lines, 330 billion; United Airlines, 329.6 billion; Emirates, 302.3 billion and Southwest Airlines ferried 214.6 billion.


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