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Number of scheduled passengers boarded by the global airline industry from 2004 to 2020
(in millions)
Global air traffic - scheduled passengers 2004-2020
It is expected that 2020 will set a new record in terms of the number of scheduled passengers with over 4.72 billion, around 137 percent higher than in 2004.

Airline passenger traffic

The number of scheduled passengers handled by the global airline industry has increased in all but one of the last 15 years. Scheduled passengers refer to the number of passengers who have booked a flight with a commercial airline. Excluded are passengers on charter flights, whereby an entire plane is booked by a private group. As of 2018, the Asia-Pacific region had the highest share of airline passenger traffic, accounting for around one third of the global total. The region also includes seven of the ten busiest air routes.

Reasons for growth

Three main reasons are generally cited to explain the ongoing global growth in air travel. First is the increase in low-cost carriers, who have almost doubled their market share over the last 15 years. Second is the growth of the global middle class, especially in China. Both these developments have increased the number of consumers able to afford air travel. Finally, there is also the growth in airport infrastructure spending, led by the Asia Pacific region, which has increased the global carrying capacity.
Number of scheduled passengers boarded by the global airline industry from 2004 to 2020
(in millions)
Number of passengers in milliions
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Sources

Release date

December 2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2004 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* 2019 figure is an estimate.
** 2020 figure is a forecast.
Figures prior to 2014 taken from previous reports.

Global air traffic - scheduled passengers 2004-2020
It is expected that 2020 will set a new record in terms of the number of scheduled passengers with over 4.72 billion, around 137 percent higher than in 2004.

Airline passenger traffic

The number of scheduled passengers handled by the global airline industry has increased in all but one of the last 15 years. Scheduled passengers refer to the number of passengers who have booked a flight with a commercial airline. Excluded are passengers on charter flights, whereby an entire plane is booked by a private group. As of 2018, the Asia-Pacific region had the highest share of airline passenger traffic, accounting for around one third of the global total. The region also includes seven of the ten busiest air routes.

Reasons for growth

Three main reasons are generally cited to explain the ongoing global growth in air travel. First is the increase in low-cost carriers, who have almost doubled their market share over the last 15 years. Second is the growth of the global middle class, especially in China. Both these developments have increased the number of consumers able to afford air travel. Finally, there is also the growth in airport infrastructure spending, led by the Asia Pacific region, which has increased the global carrying capacity.
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