Global airlines carried 3.8 billion passengers last year, according to new statistics published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The figure was up 7pc over 2015, and Ryanair was also confirmed as the world’s fourth-biggest airline, having carried 117 million passengers in 2016.

The biggest was US-based Southwest Airlines, with 151.8 million.

The report shows that airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carried the greatest number of passengers, last year. The 1.3 billion carried in the region accounted for 35% of the total global figure.

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