The information is contained in the 62nd Edition of the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos obtained a copy of the document after it was released by IATA from Montreal, Canada.
NAN observed that the document showed that the 2017 performance represented an additional 280 million trips (7.8 per cent increase) by air compared to 2016.
It said: “Worldwide annual air passenger numbers exceeded four billion for the first time.
“It is supported by a broad-based improvement in global economic conditions and lower average airfares.
“At the same time, airlines connected a record number of cities worldwide, providing regular services to over 20,000 city pairs in 2017, more than double the level of 1995.
“Such increases in direct services improve the industry’s efficiency by cutting costs and saving time for both travellers and shippers alike.”
According to the document, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers with 36.3 per cent market share (1.5 billion passengers).
The documented also showed that Europe recorded 26.3 per cent market share (1.1 billion passengers} while North America recorded 23 per cent market share (941.8 million passengers).
It also indicated that Latin America recorded 7 per cent market share (286.1 million passengers).
Also, Middle East recorded 5.3 market share (216.1 million passengers) while Africa recorded 2.2 per cent market share (88.5 million passengers).
The document also showed that the top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown were: American Airlines (324 million) and Delta Airlines (316.3 million).