US airlines carried record-breaking 823 million passengers in 2016

Turkey's main international airport was closed to traffic on Thursday after a private jet crashed on landing and burst into flames

New figures show that 2016 was a record-breaking year for US air travel, with American airlines carrying an all-time high number of passengers last year. 

The US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics released figures for 2016, and reported that 823 million passengers boarded US airlines systemwide. 

That marks a 3 percent spike from the previous high reached in 2015, which saw US carriers fly 798.2 million passengers systemwide. 

Likewise, 2016 broke records for domestic and international revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and available seat-miles (ASMs): In domestic air travel, 719 million passengers took to the skies on US carriers, up 3.3 percent from 2015, while international air travel spiked 103.9 million, up 1.7 percent from the previous high of 102.2 million in 2015. 

Conversely, the load factor declined in 2016 compared to 2015, because system capacity grew faster than the growth in passenger travel.