Happy 100, Commercial Aviation!

An American Airlines 767 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

An American Airlines 767 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight. Back in 1914, the 23-minute flight from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Florida, had just one passenger. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line flew that route, and 1204 passengers, over three months before closing its doors forever.

In just one hundred years, commercial aviation has changed the way we live, travel, work, and connect with one another. In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Tony Tyler, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) director-general and chief executive, said, “Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets, and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world.”

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In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion—surpassing the 3 billion mark for the first time ever. That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014 (equivalent to 44% of the world’s population). About 50 million tons of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tons daily). The annual value of these goods is some $6.4 trillion—or 35% of the value of goods traded internationally.

Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity. The industry’s direct economic contribution of around $540 billion would, if translated into the GDP ranking of countries, place the industry in 19th position. Global airline industry turnover is expected to be $743 billion in 2014, with an average industry profit margin of 2.6%.

We’re proud to be a part of an industry that is 100 years young and continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year. Interested in learning more about the 100th anniversary of commercial aviation? Check out flying100years.com and follow #flying100 below.

One thought on “Happy 100, Commercial Aviation!

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