Travel Trends

September 2005 Airline Traffic Data: Nine-Month Domestic Traffic Up 5.3 Percent From 2004

U.S. airlines carried 5.3 percent more domestic passengers and flew 1.2 percent more domestic flights during the first nine months of 2005 than they did during the same period in 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported, in a release of preliminary data.

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BTS, a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), reported that the airlines carried 500.4 million domestic passengers during the first nine months of 2005, up from the 475.0 million carried between January and September 2004. The passengers were carried on 7.65 million flights, up 1.2 percent from the 7.55 million flights operated in 2004.

In other domestic comparisons from the first nine months of 2004 to the first nine months of 2005:

• Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 5.5 percent.

• Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 1.8 percent.

• Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 2.6 load factor points.

• Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was up 1.7 percent.

• Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was 869 miles per trip, up only slightly from 868 the first nine months of 2004.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 66.2 million domestic passengers during the first nine months of 2005, the most of any airline.

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during the first nine months of 2005, with 29.6 million passenger boardings.

September 2005 Airline Traffic

For the month of September 2005, U.S. airlines carried 50.7 million domestic passengers, 5.7 percent more than in September 2004.

These passengers were carried on 806,598 flights, down 2.8 percent from the 829,591 flights operated in September 2004.

In other month-to-month domestic comparisons from September 2004 to September 2005:

• Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 6.7 percent.

• Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 1.4 percent.

• Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 3.7 load factor points.

• Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was up 4.4 percent.

• Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was up 0.9 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 7.0 million domestic passengers during September, the most of any airline.

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during September, with 2.9 million passenger boardings.

Additional airline traffic data can be found on the BTS website at TranStats, the Intermodal Transportation Database at transtats.bts.gov. Click on 'Aviation,' then on 'Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic),' then click on 'T-100 Domestic Market.'

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. September traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 130 airlines as of Dec. 13. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from August 2005 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release October traffic data and revised data from September and previous months on January 12.



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