The World’s Air Travel In Numbers (List)


Millions of people fly every day, but few know very much about the airline industry. Here are 17 impressive statistics about world air travel and aviation.

1. Qantas is the safest airline in the world

Australian air carrier Qantas was recently named the safest airline in the world, partly because it has not recorded a single fatality since the beginning of what is known as the jet age, over 60 years ago. The airline was founded in the State of Queensland in 1920, and its name is an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.
**Airline Ratings is a reliable source quoted by CNN, Lonely Planet, etc.

2. There are over 1,400 commercial airlines in the world

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in 2014, there were 1,402 commercial airlines in the world. IATA represents 290 of these airlines (from 120 countries), accounting for 82 per cent of total scheduled air traffic.

3. Airlines carry over 6 billion passengers per year

According to IATA data, 6.5 billion passengers took to the skies in 2018. That number is predicted to go down slightly in 2019, to 5.8 billion.

4. The world’s oldest airline is KLM

It is surprisingly difficult to name the oldest airline in the world. For example, some, such as Lufthansa, share the names of airlines that no longer exist, while others, such as Delta, were at some point renamed.

The answer, however, is KLM, founded on October 7, 1919, in the Netherlands. Its name is an acronym for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij. Its first flight was piloted by Captain Jerry Shaw, who flew a De Havilland DH-16 between Amsterdam Schipol and London in 1920.

5. There are 30 flights per day between New York and London alone

Air travel has become very accessible. In fact, if you were looking to head to London from New York, you would be able to choose from over 30 daily flights. Both cities are served by five different airports.

6. The busiest airline route in the world is in South Korea

While it’s easy to assume that the world’s busiest airline route serves the West, it is currently a route in South Korea that holds the title. The domestic route between Jeju and Seoul Gimpo (CJU-GMP) served 13,460,305 passengers in 2017, equal to 36,877 passengers per day on roughly 180 flights.

7. Pilots require two different meals during flights

Although there is no law stating this, many airlines have a rule that pilots and co-pilots must eat two different meals to minimize the risk of illness. They are also encouraged to avoid certain foods, such as raw fish, before and during flights. However, there’s no word on who gets the business-class meal!

8. The longest flight in the world lasts almost 18 hours

In October 2018, Singapore Airlines introduced its newest, and longest, route ever: a non-stop flight between Singapore and New York lasting 17 hours 52 minutes. The route is served three times a week by an Airbus A350-900ULR designed to help reduce jet lag.

9. Boeing 747s have over six million parts

Building planes is a very technical and complicated process. In fact, the famous Boeing 747 (the world’s longest aircraft) has over six million parts, beyond the wiring..

10. Over 100,000 flights occur every day

According to IATA, about 104,000 flights take off every day. Of those, 43,000 take place in the United States alone, carrying 2.6 million passengers across more than 75.1 million square kilometers (29 million square miles) of airspace. **This is a “fun fact” listed on their homepage

11. One tank of gas will take a Boeing 787 a long way

Plane distances are measured in nautical miles (nmi), one of which is equivalent to 1.852 kilometers (1.1508 miles). A Boeing 787-8 can fly 7,355 nmi, or 13,621 kilometers (8,464 miles), on a single tank of gas. To put that into perspective, the Earth’s circumference is 40,074 kilometers (24,901 miles).

12. American Airlines is the biggest airline in the world

American Airlines is considered the biggest airline in the world in all categories but one. It leads the way when it comes to revenue (US$41 billion in 2014/15), passengers carried (198,700,000 in 2016), fleet size (1,556) and destinations served (350). Turkish Airlines outranks it in terms of countries served.

13. There are 10,000 flights in the air at any given time

It is hard to know exactly how many flights are in the sky at any given time, but estimates from different sources place the number between 9,000 and 16,000.

14. Over 80 aircraft have vanished since 1948

Not a fan of flying? You may want to skip this one. Since 1948, over 80 aircraft have vanished without ever being found. The most recent incident was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014.

15. Certain aircraft can stay in operation for over 20 years

If you think the plane you are flying on looks a little old, you just might be right. Rather than being measured in years, aircraft longevity is measured in pressurization cycles. Every flight requires a plane to be pressurized, which stresses its fuselage and wings. Aircraft used for longer flights experience fewer pressurization cycles and therefore have a longer lifespan, sometimes up to 20, even 30 years.

16. GoAir is the fastest-growing airline in the world

As of September 2018, GoAir was the fastest-growing airline in the world. The Indian budget airline, founded in 2005, flies to over 20 cities and has bases in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Kochi.

17. The world’s fastest-growing airport is Quanzhou Jinjiang International

Quanzhou Jinjiang International, in the little-known Chinese city of Quanzhou, is the fastest-growing airline in the world. During the first six months of 2018, it received more than 4.3 million passengers and experienced a growth rate of 58.6 per cent.

Ready to get in the air? A visit to Costa Rica is always a great option. Click here for Things to do and Planning your Trip to Costa Rica