Indians Constituted Third Largest Group of Air Travelers in 2017: IATA Report

A total 161.5 million (16.15 crore) Indian travelers took flights in 2017 for their travels. Indian nationals, constituted 4.7% of all air passengers that year.


Indians were the third largest air travelers in 2017, according a recent report by International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Releasing the 62nd edition of the World Air Transport Statistics on Sept.6, IATA, a global trade association of airlines, said that about 161.5 million (16.15 crore) Indian travelers took flights in 2017, both domestic and international, for their travels. Indian nationals, constituted 4.7% of all the passengers, who travelled by air that year. These travels included international as well as domestic travels. For this report, IATA took the nationality of travelers into account and not their country of residence.

The United States of America tops the list with 632 million (63.2 crore) passengers constituting about 18.6 percent of global air travelers while China came second with 555 million (55.5 crore) air travelers or about 16.3 percent of all air passengers globally.

United Kingdom and Germany followed India in this list with 147 million (14.7 crore) and 114.4 million (11.44 crore) air travelers respectively.

In its World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) yearbook on the airline industry’s performance, IATA has also reported that annual air passengers worldwide exceeded 4 billion (400 crore) for the first time, thanks to overall improvement in global economic conditions and lower average airfares.

“In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure and education. Aviation is the business of freedom,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

It also stated that airlines provided connectivity in a record number of cities worldwide, giving regular air services to over 20,000 city pairs in 2017. This number was more than double the level of 1995.

IATA had also reported on Sept.1 that in India, air passenger traffic has more than doubled over the past seven years. It was nearly 22-fold of the figures since 1980.

Citing the data released by Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) in 2017, the Times of India had reported 50 percent growth in the number of air passengers carried by airlines in India over two years.

In its July report, IATA also said that the Indian domestic aviation market topped the growth chart for the 12th time in 13 months in July, and posted its 47th consecutive month of double-digit growth (18.3%).

Similarly, economic survey report released earlier this year called India third largest market in domestic aviation on the basis of tickets sold.

However, IATA called on to Indian government earlier this month to maximize the potential contribution of aviation to India’s development by addressing infrastructure constraints and government policies.

“While it is easy to find Indian passengers who want to fly, it’s very difficult for airlines to make money in this market. India’s social and economic development needs airlines to be able to profitably accommodate growing demand. We must address infrastructure constraints that limit growth and government policies that deviate from global standards and drive up the cost of connectivity,” said Juniac, IATA’s DG and CEO.

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