The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has said that preliminary figures compiled by its team and released recently show the total number of passengers carried on scheduled services rose to 3.5 billion in 2015, a 6.4 per cent increase over last year.
The number of departures reached approximately 34 million globally, and world passenger traffic, expressed in terms of total scheduled revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), posted an increase of 6.8 per cent with approximately 6,562 billion RPKs being performed.
It stated that the aviation industry, composed of some 1,400 commercial airlines, 4,130 airports and 173 Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSPs), continued to play a critical role over 2015 in fostering the growth of tourism and trade.
According to ICAO, over half of the world’s 1.1 billion tourists are transported by air today, while aircraft carry 35 per cent of world trade by value.
International scheduled passenger traffic expressed in terms of RPKs grew by 6.7 per cent in 2015, up from the 6.0 per cent recorded in 2014.
According to the report, European traffic increased by 5.5 per cent and accounted for the largest share of international RPKs at 37 per cent. The Asia/Pacific, meanwhile, had the second largest share with 28 per cent and grew by 8.2 per cent. The Middle East region moved 14 per cent of world RPKs and recorded growth of 12.1 per cent compared to 2014, while North America, also with a 14 per cent RPK share, recorded 3.3 per cent growth. Carriers in Latin America and the Caribbean managed 4 per cent of world RPK traffic and recorded 7.9 per cent growth, and Africa, with a 3 per cent share, grew at a rate of 0.6 per cent.
In terms of domestic scheduled air services, overall markets grew by 6.9 per cent in 2015. North America, the world’s largest domestic market with 43 per cent share of the world domestic scheduled traffic, experienced around 4.7 per cent growth in 2015. The Asia/Pacific region, which accounted for 39 per cent of world domestic scheduled traffic, grew strongly by 10.3 per cent in 2015 – mainly due to strong double digit growth in India and China.
ICAO further stated that Low-cost carriers (LCCs) carried more than 950 million passengers in 2015, approximately 28 per cent of total scheduled passengers. LCCs in Asia/Pacific represented 31 per cent of total LCC passengers carried, followed by Europe with 30 per cent and North America with 26 per cent. The increasing presence of LCCs in emerging economies is considered to have been an important contributing factor to overall growth in passenger traffic.
“Despite sluggish economic growth in advanced economies and most emerging markets, global passenger traffic (RPK) growth in 2015 still increased by around one percentage point compared to the previous year. A nearly 40 per cent decline in the average 2015 jet fuel price gave air carriers some flexibility to lower air fares and help stimulate this increase”, the report said.