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Financial Growth Of Flight In 50 Years

How the airline industry progressed and became a top revenue-generating industry


What's going on?

Flying has exploded in popularity over the last fifty years with more and more people flying than ever before. In 2019 alone, a total of 4.54 billion people flew by air, more than any previous year, which resulted in a revenue of more than $834 billion in the same year. Over the decades, the revenue generated by the airline industry increased exponentially with $112 billion in 1969, $279 billion in 1979, $471 billion in1999, and $570 billion in 2009. Within half a century, the industry has seen revenue growth by more than 644%.


Although commercial flying has existed since the 1930s, it was not entirely commercial at that point of time as only the wealthy were able to afford the cost of a flight ticket. However, that changed in the 1960s with the occurrence of the Golden Age of flying. It was the time of great luxury and glamour in the sky, which was cut with the advent of deregulation. Airliners began offering the economy class for the first time, making flying much more accessible to the general public. As the years passed, airlines began adding innovations like seatback screens for in-flight entertainment to attract passengers.


After the tragedy of 9/11 and the global financial crisis in the 2000s, the industry experienced a temporary slight dip in passenger numbers. However, it slowly recovered and increased again with new innovations in airline seats to help fit more passengers on board to increase profits. Although air travel now has come under fire from activists for its harmful impact on the environment, flying remains an invaluable asset in allowing for rapid long-distance travel.