Lonely Planet Writer

Demand for air travel at five year high globally

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced recently that global demand for air travel has reached the highest point in five years.

IATA reports a global increase in air travel.
IATA reports a global increase in air travel. Image by Laurence Arnold / CC BY 2.0

All regions reported increased demand, with Latin American airlines reporting the highest increase, while African carriers were at the bottom with an rise of 3%. The rise in demand is partially due to a more buoyant global economy. However, passengers have also been benefiting from lower airfare caused largely by a drop in oil prices. It’s estimated 2015 airfares were approximately 5% lower than the year before.

As well as demand for air travel, airlines capacity rose globally too by 5.9%. Carriers are seeing increased competition from low-cost airlines, with Ryanair, WowAir and Frontier all expanding their operations and new airlines planned for Canada and Oman.

The IATA used the news to call for the end of high taxes and charges, saying revenue that “can be extracted from air transport outweighs the benefits—economic and social—of connectivity”. The organisation represents 260 airlines comprising of 83% of global air traffic.

The announcement is just the latest boost for the air travel industry. In recent months, the drop in the cost of air travel has resulted in the recommencement of ‘ultra long-haul’ flights of up to 17 hours non-stop. Additionally, many airlines have secured good press with the positive news that many economy passengers are getting traditional airline perks, such as free snacks or more in-flight entertainment options.

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