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2nd-Quarter 2015 Air Fare Data

Press Release Number: 
BTS 2-16
Date: 
Friday, January 8, 2016
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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The average domestic air fare decreased to $385 in the second quarter of 2015, down 2.8 percent from $396 in the second quarter of 2014, adjusted for inflation (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.

U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 2nd Quarter 1995-2015

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U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 2nd Quarter 1995-2015

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, BTS Air Fares, Origin and Destination Survey

BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips accounted for 34 percent of fares calculated for the second quarter of 2015. Fares are based on the total ticket value, which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares,” or abnormally high reported fares. Constant 2015 dollars are used for inflation adjustment. The release of second-quarter air fare data was delayed from the previously scheduled release date because of the need to resolve data quality issues with airline submissions for the Origin & Destination database.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares

Second-quarter fares rose 17 percent from the recession-affected low of $334 in 2009 to the second quarter of 2011. Since 2011, second-quarter fares have shown little change, decreasing 1.5 percent from 2011 to 2015 (Table 1).

The second-quarter 2015 fare was down 18.6 percent from the average fare of $473 in 1999, the highest inflation-adjusted second quarter average fare in the 20 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The 18.6 percent decline took place while overall consumer prices rose 43.6 percent. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 17.1 percent compared to a 56.5 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historical data.

U.S. passenger airlines collected 75.7 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the second quarter of 2015, down from 1995 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

Quarter-to-Quarter Change

In the three-year period from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2015, inflation-adjusted fares decreased 3.7 percent. In the two-year period from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2015, inflation-adjusted fares decreased 0.3 percent (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares

The $385 second-quarter 2015 average fare was equal to the 2012 second-quarter average fare, the second highest average fare for any second quarter since 1995, but down 2.7 percent from the highest second quarter fare, reached in 2014. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 29.8 percent (Table 4).

Second-quarter 2015 fares were down 2.8 percent from the third quarter of 2014, which at $396 was the all-time unadjusted high (Table 5).

Fares by Airport

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Fares by Airport Size

Grouped by the number of originating passengers in the second quarter of 2015, the 15 airports with more than 5 million originating passengers had the highest average fares ($406). Airports with 3 to 4 million originating passengers had the lowest average fares of any group ($335) (Table 6).

Tables listing the airports by group can be found on the BTS Air Fare web page.

For additional data, see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Third-quarter 2015 average fare data will be released Feb. 2.

 

Table 1. 2nd Quarter Average Fare 1995-2015, Adjusted for Inflation

Year Average Fare in constant 2015 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%)
1995 464    
1996 420 -9.6 -9.6
1997 431 2.6 -7.2
1998 441 2.3 -5.1
1999 473 7.3 1.8
2000 469 -0.7 1.1
2001 441 -6.1 -5.1
2002 422 -4.3 -9.2
2003 409 -3.1 -12.0
2004 389 -4.7 -16.2
2005 376 -3.3 -19.0
2006 402 6.8 -13.5
2007 373 -7.2 -19.8
2008 378 1.5 -18.5
2009 334 -11.8 -28.1
2010 373 11.7 -19.7
2011 391 4.8 -15.8
2012 400 2.4 -13.9
2013 386 -3.4 -16.8
2014 396 2.5 -14.7
2015 385 -2.8 -17.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2015

Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Operating Revenue* (%)
1990 88.5
1995 87.6
2000 88.9
2001 87.8
2002 87.1
2003 84.9
2004 80.6
2005 78.4
2006 77.6
2007 77.7
2008 75.9
2009 73.7
2010 74.8
2011 74.6
2012 74.1
2013 74.6
2014 74.8
2015 (1Q) 74.6
2015 (2Q) 75.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

* From Schedule P-12: Passenger Revenue (Fares) (Acct 3901) as a percentage of Total Operating Revenues (4999).

 

Table 2. Percent Changes to 2015 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(2nd Quarter to 2nd Quarter for fares; Jun to Jun for inflation)

Since 2nd Quarter of ... Duration in Years Average Fare in constant 2015 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 2ndQuarter 2015 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Jun 2015
2015   385    
2014 1 396 -2.8 0.1
2013 2 386 -0.3 2.2
2012 3 400 -3.7 4.0
2011 4 391 -1.5 5.7
2010 5 373 3.2 9.5
2009 6 334 15.3 10.6
2008 7 378 1.8 9.1
2007 8 373 3.3 14.5
2006 9 402 -4.1 17.6
2005 10 376 2.3 22.7
2004 11 389 -1.1 25.8
2003 12 409 -5.7 29.9
2002 13 422 -8.7 32.7
2001 14 441 -12.6 34.1
2000 15 469 -18.0 38.4
1999 16 473 -18.6 43.6
1998 17 441 -12.6 46.4
1997 18 431 -10.6 48.9
1996 19 420 -8.3 52.3
1995 20 464 -17.1 56.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

 

Table 3. Inflation-Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (2015$)
Average Fare in constant 2015 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
3Q 2011 379 -2.9
4Q 2011 390 2.7
1Q 2012 388 -0.4
2Q 2012 400 3.1
3Q 2012 378 -5.4
4Q 2012 389 2.8
1Q 2013 387 -0.4
2Q 2013 386 -0.3
3Q 2013 398 2.9
4Q 2013 391 -1.6
1Q 2014 386 -1.3
2Q 2014* 396 2.6
3Q 2014* 397 0.3
4Q 2014* 399 0.4
1Q 2015* 392 -1.7
2Q 2015* 385 -1.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

* Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

 

Table 4. Unadjusted 2nd Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2015

Year Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%)
1995 297    
1996 276 -7.1 -7.1
1997 289 5.0 -2.5
1998 301 4.0 1.4
1999 329 9.4 11.0
2000 339 3.0 14.3
2001 329 -3.1 10.7
2002 318 -3.3 7.1
2003 315 -1.1 6.0
2004 309 -1.6 4.3
2005 307 -0.9 3.3
2006 342 11.4 15.1
2007 325 -4.7 9.6
2008 347 6.6 16.9
2009 302 -13.0 1.7
2010 341 12.9 14.8
2011 370 8.5 24.6
2012 385 4.1 29.6
2013 378 -1.7 27.4
2014 396 4.7 33.3
2015 385 -2.7 29.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
3Q 2011 361 -2.4
4Q 2011 368 2.1
1Q 2012 373 1.2
2Q 2012 385 3.2
3Q 2012 367 -4.6
4Q 2012 374 2.0
1Q 2013 378 1.0
2Q 2013 378 0.0
3Q 2013 390 3.2
4Q 2013 382 -2.0
1Q 2014 382 0.0
2Q 2014 396 3.5
3Q 2014 396 0.2
4Q 2014 393 -0.9
1Q 2015 388 -1.1
2Q 2015 385 -0.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 6. Fares at Airports Grouped by Originating Passengers

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2015 Q2 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Airport Groups based on 2Q 2015 Originating Passengers Average Fare 2nd Quarter 2015 ($) Percent of Total Passengers
5 million+ 406 37
4-5 million 385 23
3-4 million 335 17
2-3 million 374 13
1-2 million 392 7
less than 1 million 377 3
Average Fare at All Airports 378 100

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico