Monthly passenger load factor (PLF) on international flights by region 2020

The statistic represents the monthly passenger load factor (PLF) of international flights from January to May 2020, by region. Due to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide, airlines in the Asia Pacific region had an international passenger load factor of 32.1 percent in May 2020, down from 81.6 percent in the first month of the year.

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Fact and Figures page.

Passenger load factor

When it comes to international passenger boardings, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK) is the busiest airport in the United States, its most in-demand transatlantic route being the passage to London Heathrow (LHR).

Aircraft that are used on flight routes with a very high passenger demand require a high seating capacity to transport as many passengers as possible on board. The full utilization of an aircraft’s seating capacity is an effective measurement for airlines to increase revenue. To give an example, the largest Dreamliner variant seats up to 330 passengers, and the flight distance from John F. Kennedy airport to London Heathrow comes to around 3,450 miles. The passenger load factor is the quotient of the number of seat miles and passenger miles traveled. While seat miles are calculated by multiplying the number of seats on board with the number of miles travelled, passenger miles are the product of the amount of miles traveled and the number of passengers carried. A fully-seated Dreamliner traveling from JFK to LHR carries the same number of seat and passenger miles and thus has a passenger load factor of one. In other words, its seating capacity is fully utilized.

Passenger load factor (PLF) on international flights from January to May 2020, by region

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period

January to May 2020

Supplementary notes

Based on data gathered from IATA members. IATA members generate 82 percent of global air traffic.
Data for January 2020 can be accessed here.
Data for February 2020 can be accessed here.
Figures for March 2020 can be found here.
Figures for April 2020 can be found here.

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Statistics on "Passenger airlines worldwide"

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