BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China had more than 549 million air passengers in 2017, a significant contribution to the world aviation industry, which hit a new record of 4.1 billion passengers last year.
The international civil aviation industry saw a 7.1 percent year-on-year increase in the number of passengers carried on scheduled services in 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said.
According to preliminary figures released by the ICAO, the number of flight departures globally rose to about 37 million in 2017.
More than half of the world's 1.2 billion tourists who crossed international borders travelled by air in 2017.
Air transport carried some 35 percent of world trade by value. More than 90 percent of cross-border Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce was carried by air transport, the ICAO said.
"Air traffic growth is making key contributions towards the achievement of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, offering an opportunity to lift a generation out of poverty, figuratively and literally," said Liu Fang, ICAO secretary general.
By Dec. 27 last year, China's civil aviation industry exceeded ten million flight hours annually for the first time, according to statistics released by Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The country recorded 549 million air passengers and 7.12 million tonnes of air cargo in 2017, a 12.6 and 6.6 percent year-on-year increase respectively.
China's air passenger volume is forecast to reach 612 million in 2018, an 11 percent year-on-year increase.
Founded in 1944, ICAO is a United Nations agency aimed at promoting the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation worldwide.