Travel Trends

January 2020 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

An airport flight board - Unsplash
January 2020 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

U.S. airlines carried an estimated 78.6 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in January 2020, reaching a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) first estimate, up 0.1% from the December second estimate.

BTS estimated 68.9 million domestic passengers and 9.7 million international passengers on U.S. airlines flights in January. The domestic passenger numbers were a seasonally-adjusted all-time high.

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for summary data since 2016 (Tables 1-24) and complete data since 2000.

This release is a statistical estimate for December 2019 and January 2020 based on U.S. airlines reported data through November. The estimates for January that are based on November data do not account for the travel impacts of the coronavirus. BTS will release a second estimate of U.S. airlines January air traffic on March 12, followed by a release of the reported data on April 16.

Four measures of U.S. airlines passenger enplanements

Estimated January seasonally-adjusted

  • System-wide enplanements (78.6M) reached an all-time, seasonally-adjusted, high based on the estimate compared to reported data through November and estimate for December.
  • Domestic enplanements (68.9M) reached an all-time, seasonally-adjusted, high based on the estimate compared to reported data through November and estimate for December.
  • International enplanements (9.74M) were down 0.2% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted, reported high of 9.75 million reached in June 2019.

Reported November seasonally-adjusted

  • System-wide enplanements (78.2M) were down 0.5% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted reported high of 78.6 million reached in January 2020.
  • Domestic enplanements (68.5M) were down 0.5% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted reported high of 68.9 million reached in January 2020.
  • International enplanements (9.67M) were down 0.9% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted reported high of 9.75 million reached in June 2019.

Estimated January unadjusted

  • Systemwide enplanements (70.5M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of January.
  • Domestic enplanements (61.4M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of January.
  • International enplanements (9.17M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of January.

Reported November unadjusted

  • Systemwide enplanements (73.1M) were up 0.5% from the previous all-time November reported high (72.7M) reached in 2018.
  • Domestic enplanements (64.8M) were up 0.2% from the previous all-time November reported high (64.7M) reached in 2018.
  • International enplanements (8.26M) were up 2.2% from the previous all-time November reported high (8.08M) reached in 2018.

Table A. Seasonally Adjusted Estimated and Reported Passenger Enplanements Compared to Previous Time Periods, January Estimate

Seasonally AdjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to

Previous Month Previous Year Three Years Previous
January estimate 78.6 0.1% 5.2% 12.2%
November reported 78.2 0.6% 0.0% 12.5%

Table B. Unadjusted Estimated and Reported Passenger Enplanements Compared to Previous Time Periods, January Estimate

UnadjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to

Previous Year Two Years Previous Three Years Previous
January estimate 70.5 5.3% 9.5% 12.6%
November reported 73.1 0.0% 4.9% 9.7%

Revised Annual

For the full year 2019, January through December, U.S. airlines carried 926.1 million passengers, revised from the first estimate of 925.5 million in last month’s release. The annual total was the highest based on comparable records since 2003. The annual number has reached a new high for five consecutive years. The revised 2019 estimated passenger total is up 4.2% from 2018, up 9.0% from 2017 and up 12.4% from 2016. Numbers are unadjusted with 2019 consisting of 11 months reported data and one month estimated.

Figure 2. January-December Passengers on U.S. Airlines - 2003-2019

Passengers in millions, unadjusted (000,000)

For the December and January estimates and for data filed through November, see accompanying tables. For the complete database of reported data, see Traffic. For an explanation of BTS’ seasonal adjustment methodology, see Seasonal Adjustment.

BTS Estimates

For seasonally-adjusted passenger numbers, BTS first estimates have averaged within 0.8% of reported data while second estimates have averaged within 0.6% of reported data.

For unadjusted passenger numbers, BTS first estimates have averaged within 1.0% of reported data while second estimates have averaged within 0.7% of reported data.



Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.