You wouldn't think it if you're on a Friday afternoon flight between Sydney and Melbourne, but it turns out that there are a lot of empty seats on Australian domestic flights. In 2013, the "load factor" (aviation speak for the number of occupied seats) was 76.5 per cent.
That figure was revealed in the annual roundup of airline traffic data by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For maximum profitability, that figure would be at 100 per cent, but that's unlikely. By global standards, 76.5 per cent is relatively high: the US tops the rankings with 83.8 per cent.
The number of passengers flying in Australia rose by 2.8 per cent, but the number of available seats went up by 3.8 per cent, which means planes are slightly emptier than they were in 2012. Here's to more flights with an empty seat next to me!