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According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, 3.5 billion take-off passenger seatbelts were fastened in 2015, and the International Air Transport Association anticipates that this figure will rise to 3.8 billion next year. For those of you who are tempted to do mathematics, 3.5 billion will realise that almost half of the world's people live in mathematics.
Meaning that every second human being on earth has flown sometime in the past year? "A single individual can consist of more than one passenger on a given day," says John Heimlich, head of economics at Airlines for America, an industry organization that represents US airlines. Or in other words, if your last voyage was one of transfer, you were two of the 3.5 billion or four if you made a round voyage.
There is no worldwide data base that tracks the number of individuals flying into the sky each year. Airline companies may have this information for their own customers, but they do not pass it on. It can be difficult to determine exactly how many individuals have traveled in one year, let alone what proportion of the world's people have ever traveled in an aircraft.
On the basis of its Omnibus Household Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics in 2003 estimates that one third of adult passengers had flew in the last 12 month. And the next thing we saw was that after 18% of Americans said they had never been on a plane before in their lives, which means 82% were.
Until 2009, the number of persons who travelled by passenger aircraft in the preceding year rose to 39.85 per cent in the bus household survey. By 2012, 52 per cent of those surveyed stated that they had made at least one flight last year, the highest number in a decade. 1 per cent of those surveyed said that they had made at least one flight last year. It is not always possible for a country's stage of evolution to coincide with the number of airline users.
What is not clear from these figures is whether more persons have flew, or whether the same persons have flew more frequently, or both. Hopefully, the proportion of world residents who have ever flew will increase and increase. His assumption was that most passengers do sightseeing and that a number of trips are not point-to-point, but include a stopover.
Next, he computed that the vast bulk of airline ticket purchases are made by persons travelling on work. Perhaps six per cent of the world's inhabitants have flown in a year.