India reported the fastest growth in domestic air passenger markets among all major markets in 2015, growing at 18.8 per cent year-on-year, ferrying over 80 million passengers, according to latest data released by IATA.
India was followed by Russia, with a 11.9 per cent growth, in a market of 47 million domestic passengers while China recorded 9.7 per cent growth, in a market of 394 million domestic passengers and the United States saw a 5.4 per cent growth, in a market of 708 million domestic passengers.
Global passenger market surpassed 3.5 billion in 2015. Passenger and freight businesses, however, had contrasting fortunes in 2015.
Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) grew 7.4 per cent. This was the greatest increase since the rebound from the depth of the global financial crisis in 2010 and well above the long-run average of 5.5 per cent. Altogether, more than 3.5 billion passenger segments were flown in 2015, an increase of 240 million compared with 2014.
Aviation's center of gravity continued to shift eastward in 2015, with 7 of the top 10 increasing origin-destination (O-D) passenger markets located in Asia. Despite well documented signs of slowing growth in China's economy, China's domestic air passenger market saw the biggest incremental rise in journey numbers in 2015, with 36 million more passenger journeys made than in 2014. This increase was more than in the next two largest-gaining markets combined: domestic Indonesia and domestic India.
Popular markets for Chinese outbound tourism also grew strongly; specifically, journeys to and from Thailand and Japan.
By virtue of the United States' position as the world's largest air passenger market, even modest year-on-year passenger growth of 1.7 per cent in 2015 translated into almost 8 million additional passenger journeys in the US domestic market.
Transpacific air freight benefited in early 2015 from a disruption to seaports on the US West Coast. However, the rest of the year proved weaker for air freight, and industry-wide freight tonne kilometers (FTK) increased just 2.3 per cent year on year in 2015.
The minimal growth in air freight seen since the global financial crisis has coincided with weakness in world trade growth. It was considered normal for world trade to grow at around twice the pace of global output. But this relationship has changed in recent years, and trade volumes now grow broadly in line with global output. In fact, global trade grew just 2.0 per cent in 2015-slower than the estimated pace of global GDP growth.
''Last year airlines safely carried 3.6 billion passengers - the equivalent of 48 per cent of the Earth's population - and transported 52.2 million tonnes of cargo worth around $6 trillion. In doing so, we supported some $2.7 trillion in economic activity and 63 million jobs,'' said Tony Tyler, IATA's director-general and CEO.
System-wide, airlines carried 3.6 billion passengers on scheduled services, an increase of 7.2 per cent over 2014, representing an additional 240 million air trips
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers. The regional ranking (based on total passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) is:
- Asia-Pacific 34 per cent market share (1.2 billion passengers, an increase of 10 per cent compared to the region's passengers in 2014);
- Europe 26.2 per cent market share (935.5 million passengers, up 6.7 per cent over 2014);
- North America 24.8 per cent market share (883.2 million, up 5.2 per cent over 2014);
- Latin America 7.5 per cent market share (267.6 million, up 4.7 per cent);
- Middle East 5.3 per cent market share (188.2 million, an increase of 8.1 per cent); and
- Africa 2.2 per cent market share (79.5 million, up 1.8 per cent over 2014).
The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passengers carried (domestic and international) were:
- American Airlines (146,5 million)
- Southwest Airlines (144.6 million)
- Delta Air Lines (138.8 million)
- China Southern Airlines (109.3 million)
- Ryanair (101.4 million) (Note 3)
The top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs were all within the Asia-Pacific region:
- Hong Kong-Taipei (5.1 million, up 2.1 per cent from 2014)
- Jakarta-Singapore (3.4 million, down 2.6 per cent)
- Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Hong Kong (3 million, increase of 29.2 per cent)
- Kuala Lumpur–Singapore (2.7 million, up 13 per cent)
- Hong Kong-Singapore (2.7 million, down 3.2 per cent)
The top five domestic passenger airport-pairs were also all in the Asia-Pacific region:
- Jeju-Seoul Gimpo (11.1 million, up 7.1 per cent over 2014)
- Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda (7.8 million, up 1.3 per cent)
- Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (7.6 million, a decrease of 7.4 per cent from 2014)
- Melbourne Tullamarine-Sydney (7.2 million, down 2.2 per cent)
- Beijing Capital-Shanghai Hongqiao (6.1 million, up 6.1 per cent from 2014)
Globally, cargo markets showed a 2.3 per cent expansion in freight and mail tonne kilometers (FTKs). This outstripped a capacity increase of 5.8 per cent decreasing freight load factor by 1.6 per cent pp
The top five airlines ranked by total freight tonnes carried on scheduled services were:
- FedEx Express (7.1 million)
- United Parcel Service (4.5 million)
- Emirates (2.5 million)
- Cathay Pacific Airways (1.6 million)
- Korean Air (1.5 million)
Star Alliance maintained its position as the largest airline alliance in 2015 with 23 per cent of total scheduled traffic (in RPK), followed by SkyTeam (20.4 per cent) and oneworld (17.8 per cent).