The strong performance was well ahead of the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Capacity rose 6.2% (unadjusted) compared to 2015, pushing the load factor up 0.1 percentage points to a record full-year average high of 80.5%.
A particularly strong performance was reported for December with an 8.8% rise in demand outstripping 6.6% capacity growth.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented: “Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible. As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding. ”
However, IATA’s boss continued: “The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don?t choke growth. If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity.”
But de Juniac also warned that: “Our freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies. That freedom can only be given its fullest expression when governments facilitate the movement of people and goods.”
In this respect, he noted that: “Security and competitiveness, of course, must always be top of mind for governments. And the four billion people who will travel by air this year are an opportunity to build an even better world through the positive impacts of globalization?mutual understanding, innovation and business opportunities among them. Aviation is the business of freedom. And we must defend its social and economic benefits from barriers to travel and protectionist agendas.”
Go to http://www.iata.org .