Travel Trends

Air Transport Association Reports Decline in November Passenger Demand, October Cargo Traffic

- Drop in Travelers Continues, Despite 12th Consecutive Month of Ticket Price Reductions

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today reported that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers,(1) fell 7 percent in November 2009 versus the same month in 2008. This marks the 13th consecutive month in which passenger revenue has declined from the prior year, fueled primarily by the 12th consecutive month of ticket price declines.

Approximately 1 percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines(1) in November, while the average price to fly one mile fell 6.4 percent. Passenger revenue fell most sharply in trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific markets.

"While it's good to see the number of passengers beginning to stabilize after several months of pronounced declines, revenue remains depressed. Hopefully this is an indication that a gradual recovery is underway," said ATA President and CEO James C. May.

Also reflecting a weak global economy is the continued decline in cargo traffic. U.S. airlines(2) saw cargo revenue ton miles decline 1 percent year over year (3 percent domestically and 0 percent internationally) in October 2009, the 15th consecutive month of declining volumes. November 2009 cargo data is not yet available.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 28,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo.

(1) Based on data reported to ATA by Alaska, American, Continental (incl. Micronesia), Delta (incl. NWA), JetBlue, United and US Airways; also includes data for Air Midwest, Air Wisconsin, Allegheny, American Eagle, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Southeast, Chautauqua, Comair, Continental Express, Executive, Freedom, Horizon, Mesa, Mesaba, MidAtlantic, Piedmont, Pinnacle, PSA, Shuttle America, SkyWest and Trans States.

(2) Based on data reported to ATA by Aloha, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta (incl. NWA), FedEx, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Midwest, Southwest, United, UPS and US Airways.

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