Travel Trends

Estimated February 2019 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

A man at a departure gate
Estimated February 2019 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

U.S. airlines carried an estimated 76.0 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers, seasonally-adjusted, in February 2019, up 0.6 percent from the January second estimate, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) first February estimate.

The BTS estimate of a February enplanement total of 76.0 million would be a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high monthly total.

Figure 1. Seasonally-Adjusted Systemwide Passenger Enplanements on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International), Feb 2016 - Feb 2019 (Jan 2019-Feb 2019 estimated) Enplanements in millions (Seasonally Adjusted)Notes: 

Most recent two months estimated

Seasonally-adjusted changesEstimated February 2019 systemwide passengers (76.0M), domestic passengers (66.6M) and international passengers (9.44M) compared to: 

Compared to Previous Month - January 2019 Estimate

Systemwide: Up 0.6 percent from 75.6 millionDomestic: Up 0.6 percent from 66.2 millionInternational: Up 0.4 percent from 9.40 million

Compared to Previous Year - February 2018 Reported

Systemwide: Up 4.1 percent from 73.0 millionDomestic: Up 4.2 percent from 63.9 millionInternational: Up 3.1 percent from 9.16 million

Compared to Three Years Previous - February 2016 Reported:

Systemwide: Up 12.1 percent from 67.8 millionDomestic: Up 12.6 percent from 59.1 millionInternational: Up 9.0 percent from 8.65 million

For the January and February estimates and for data filed through December, see accompanying tables. For the complete database of reported data, see Traffic.

Additional Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) air traffic data:Seasonally-adjustedNew seasonally-adjusted all-time highs in February 2019Passenger enplanements: Systemwide, international, and domestic passenger enplanements reached new seasonally-adjusted all-time highs based on the estimate compared to reported data through December.

Available seat-miles: Systemwide and domestic available seat miles (ASMs) reached new seasonally-adjusted all-time highs compared to reported data through December.

Load Factor Systemwide estimate: 83.7 down 1.4 points from all-time seasonally-adjusted high (85.1) reported in July 2018.Domestic estimate: 84.3 down 2.0 points from all-time seasonally-adjusted high (86.3) reported in July 2018.International estimate: 82.0 down 1.2 points from all-time seasonally-adjusted high (83.2) reported in March 2013.

Load factor is a measure of the use of aircraft capacity that compares the system use, measured in RPMs as a proportion of system capacity, measured ASMs.

The estimated seasonally-adjusted load factor rose from January (83.6) to February (83.7) because estimated passenger travel grew faster (0.40 percent increase in RPMs) than estimated system capacity (0.36 percent increase in ASMs).

Seasonally-adjusted trends are for the time period January 2000 to present based on data reported by U.S. airlines through December and BTS estimates for the two most recent months. Additional data, including domestic and international numbers, can be found on the seasonally-adjusted data  page.

Estimated Unadjusted Trends, February 2019

Figure 2. Unadjusted Systemwide Passenger Enplanements on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International), Feb 2016 - Feb 2019 (Jan 2019-Feb 2019 estimated) Enplanements in millions (Unadjusted)Notes: 

Most recent two months estimated

Estimated unadjusted all-time highs for the month of FebruaryUnadjusted passenger enplanements: Systemwide, international, and domestic passenger enplanements reached estimated new highs for the month of February compared to reported data for previous years.

Estimated February 2019 systemwide passengers (64.7M), domestic passengers (56.7M) and international passengers (7.92M) compared to:

Compared to Previous Month - January 2019 Estimate

Systemwide: Down 5.5 percent from 68.4 millionDomestic: Down 4.5 percent from 59.4 millionInternational: Down 11.6 percent from 8.96 million Compared to Previous Year - February 2018 Reported Systemwide: Up 4.8 percent from 61.7 millionDomestic: Up 4.9 percent from 54.1 millionInternational: Up 3.7 percent from 7.64 million Compared to Three Years Previous - February 2016 Reported: Systemwide: Up 10.5 percent from 58.5 millionDomestic: Up 11.0 percent from 51.1 millionInternational: Up 7.2 percent from 7.39 million

Unadjusted revenue passenger-miles: Systemwide, domestic and international revenue passenger miles (RPMs) reached new estimated highs for the month of February compared to reported data for previous years.

Unadjusted available seat-miles: Systemwide, domestic and international available seat miles (ASMs) reached new estimated highs for the month of February compared to reported data for previous years.

Load Factor   Systemwide estimate: 80.1 down 0.1 points from the all-time February high (80.2) reported in 2015.Domestic estimate: 81.5 down 0.9 points from the all-time February high (82.4) reported in 2015.International estimate: 86.8 down 0.1 points from the all-time June high (86.9) reported in 2013.

Unadjusted load factor declined from the reported February 2018 (80.1) to the estimated February 2019 (80.06) despite estimated growth in passenger travel (4.67 percent increase in RPMs) because estimated system capacity grew slightly faster (4.73 percent increase in ASMs).

Unadjusted trends are for the time period January 1996 to present based on data reported by U.S. airlines through December and BTS estimates for the two most recent months. Data through December are available at Customize Table. Reported data and estimates for the two most recent months can be downloaded from the seasonally-adjusted data  page.

U.S. Airlines Reported Data for December

Seasonally Adjusted:Reported December 2018 systemwide passengers (75.4M), domestic passengers (66.0M) and international passengers (9.37M) compared to:

Compared to Previous Month - November 2018

Systemwide: Up 0.7 percent from 74.9 millionDomestic: Up 0.8 percent from 65.6 millionInternational: Up 0.1 percent from 9.36 million Compared to Previous Year - December 2017 Systemwide: Up 4.3 percent from 72.3 millionDomestic: Up 4.4 percent from 63.2 millionInternational: Up 3.7 percent from 9.04 million Compared to Three Years Previous - December 2015 Systemwide: Up 11.1 percent from 67.9 millionDomestic: Up 11.5 percent from 59.3 millionInternational: Up 8.3 percent from 8.65 million

Unadjusted: Systemwide, domestic, and international enplanements all reached all-time highs for the month of December.

Reported December 2018 systemwide passengers (72.9M), domestic passengers (63.6M) and international passengers (9.24M) compared to:

Compared to Previous Month - November 2018 Systemwide: Up 0.2 percent from 72.7 millionDomestic: Down 1.6 percent from 64.6 millionInternational: Up 14.3 percent from 8.08 millionCompared to Previous Year - December 2017 Systemwide: Up 3.6 percent from 70.3 millionDomestic: Up 3.7 percent from 61.4 millionInternational: Up 3.2 percent from 8.96 millionCompared to Three Years Previous - December 2015 Systemwide: Up 9.7 percent from 66.4 millionDomestic: Up 9.9 percent from 57.9 millionInternational: Up 8.3 percent from 8.53 million Explanation of estimatesEstimates derived from a forecast of the data. The first estimate is a two-month ahead forecast of the data. When an additional month of data become available, BTS uses the data to re-forecast the month and releases a second estimate. BTS performs the forecasting using the Census X-12 procedure in SAS – a statistical software program. Explanation of seasonal adjustmentWhen the primary purpose is to examine monthly shifts in transportation services output and analyze short-term trends, the variation introduced by normal seasonal changes must be removed from the data. Transportation is highly seasonal, and without adjustment, the data do not give an accurate picture of underlying changes in aviation, passenger travel.

Seasonal adjustment of the data removes the seasonal events that follow a regular seasonal pattern. Changes that are not due to seasonality, such as a change in air travel resulting from economic conditions become more readily apparent.

The aviation data are seasonally adjusted for the effects of trading day, moving holidays, and data outliers.

See Seasonal Adjustment for methodology and additional explanation.

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 77 U.S. carriers as of March 5 for U.S. carrier scheduled civilian operations.

See the BTS Airlines and Airports page for additional scheduled service numbers through December for U.S. and foreign airlines. International data by origin and destination is available through September.

BTS has scheduled April 11 for the release of the first estimate of March air traffic data, the second estimate of February air traffic data and reported data through January.

None of the data are from samples. Measures of statistical significance do not apply to the complete air traffic data.



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