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3rd-Quarter 2014 Air Fare Data

Press Release Number: 
BTS 06-15
Date: 
Friday, January 30, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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The average domestic air fare of $396 in the third quarter of 2014 was virtually the same as the average fare in the third quarter of 2013, adjusted for inflation (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  During the July to September 2014 period, passengers originating in Cincinnati, Ohio, paid the highest average fare, $533, while passengers originating in Mesa, Arizona, paid the lowest, $100 (Table 6).

U.S. Domestic Air Fares

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U.S. Domestic Air Fares

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 33 percent of fares calculated for the third quarter of 2014. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at either the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares,” or abnormally high reported fares. Constant 2014 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares
Third-quarter fares rose 11.8 percent from the recession-affected low of $338 in 2009 to the third quarter of 2011. Since 2011, third quarter fares have shown little change, increasing 4.7 percent from 2011 to 2014 (Table 1). (Corrected 2/2/15).

The third-quarter 2014 fare was down 16.4 percent from the average fare of $461 in 2000, the highest inflation-adjusted third quarter average fare in the 19 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995.  The 16.4 percent decline took place while overall consumer prices rose 37 percent. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 11.3 percent compared to a 55.4 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

U.S. passenger airlines collected 71.8 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2014, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
In the three-year period from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2014, inflation-adjusted fares increased 4.7 percent. In the two-year period from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2014, inflation-adjusted fares decreased 1.0 percent (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares
The $396 third-quarter 2014 average fare equaled the highest average fare for any quarter since 1995 which was $396 in the second quarter of 2014.  The previous highest unadjusted third-quarter fare was $390 in 2013. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 37.9 percent compared to a 55.4 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 4).

Unadjusted third-quarter 2014 fares were the same as the second quarter of 2014 (Table 5). See Tables 13-16 for additional unadjusted fare data by airport.

Fares by Airport
Tables 6-8 provide fare data on the top 100 airports based on 2013 originating passengers. All figures are reported in constant 2014 dollars.

Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the third quarter: Cincinnati had the highest average fare ($533) while Mesa had the lowest ($100). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases adjusted for inflation from the third quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014: Jackson/Vicksburg, MS, had the largest increase (9.4 percent) and Bellingham, Washington, had the largest decrease   (-12.5 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases adjusted for inflation from the third quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2014: Houston Hobby, Texas, had the largest increase (20.3 percent) and Bellingham, Washington, had the largest decrease (-64.4 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 12 on the BTS website.

For additional data, see Top 100 Airports, Rankings  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. Fourth-quarter 2014 average fare data will be released April 21.

 

Table 1. 3rd Quarter Average Fare 1995-2014, Adjusted for Inflation

  Average Fare in constant 2014 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q to 3Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year) (%)
1995 447    
1996 407 -9.0 -9.0
1997 417 2.5 -6.7
1998 459 10.0 2.7
1999 450 -2.0 0.7
2000 461 2.6 3.3
2001 405 -12.3 -9.4
2002 399 -1.4 -10.7
2003 402 0.7 -10.1
2004 372 -7.4 -16.8
2005 366 -1.5 -18.0
2006 387 5.7 -13.3
2007 374 -3.4 -16.3
2008 391 4.4 -12.6
2009 338 -13.4 -24.3
2010 370 9.4 -17.1
2011 378 2.2 -15.3
2012 377 -0.3 -15.5
2013 397 5.0 -11.2
2014 396 0.0 -11.3

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 1990-2014

Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Revenue* (%)
1990 87.6
1995 85.6
2000 84.1
2001 82.7
2002 82.3
2003 79.5
2004 76.6
2005 75.0
2006 74.4
2007 74.3
2008 72.9
2009 70.2
2010 71.3
2011 71.0
2012 70.3
2013 70.7
2014 (1Q) 70.2
2014 (2Q) 71.4
2014 (3Q) 71.8
2014 (thru 3Q) 71.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

* Scheduled passenger airline total revenue is the sum of the following Schedule P12 accounts with account numbers: Reservation cancellation fees (3919.1), Baggage fees (3906.2), Miscellaneous Operating Revenue (3919.2), Transport-Related Revenue (4898) and Passenger Revenue (Fares) (3901).

 

Table 2. Percent Changes to 2014 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(3rd Quarter to 3rd Quarter for fares; Sep to Sep for inflation)

Since 3rd Quarter of ... Duration in Years Average Fare in constant 2014 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 3rdQuarter 2014 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Sep 2014
2014   396    
2013 1 397 0.0 1.7
2012 2 377 5.0 2.9
2011 3 378 4.7 4.9
2010 4 370 7.1 9.0
2009 5 338 17.2 10.2
2008 6 391 1.5 8.8
2007 7 374 6.0 14.2
2006 8 387 2.3 17.3
2005 9 366 8.2 19.7
2004 10 372 6.6 25.3
2003 11 402 -1.3 28.5
2002 12 399 -0.6 31.5
2001 13 405 -2.0 33.5
2000 14 461 -14.1 37.0
1999 15 450 -11.9 41.8
1998 16 459 -13.6 45.5
1997 17 417 -4.9 47.7
1996 18 407 -2.5 50.8
1995 19 447 -11.3 55.4

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 (2014$)
Average Fare in constant 2014 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2011 390 2.9
3Q 2011 378 -2.9
4Q 2011 389 2.7
1Q 2012 387 -0.4
2Q 2012 399 3.1
3Q 2012 377 -5.4
4Q 2012 388 2.8
1Q 2013 386 -0.4
2Q 2013 385 -0.3
3Q 2013 397 2.9
4Q 2013 390 -1.6
1Q 2014* 382 -2.1
2Q 2014* 395 3.4
3Q 2014* 396 0.3

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 3rd Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2014

  Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q to 3Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year) (%)
1995 288    
1996 269 -6.3 -6.3
1997 282 4.7 -1.8
1998 315 11.7 9.6
1999 317 0.6 10.3
2000 337 6.1 17.1
2001 303 -10.0 5.4
2002 303 0.1 5.5
2003 312 3.0 8.7
2004 297 -5.1 3.1
2005 306 3.2 6.4
2006 330 7.9 14.8
2007 328 -0.8 13.9
2008 359 9.6 24.8
2009 307 -14.5 6.8
2010 340 10.7 18.2
2011 361 6.2 25.5
2012 367 1.7 27.6
2013 390 6.3 35.7
2014 396 1.6 37.9

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

 

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 (%)
2Q 2011 370 3.9
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

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. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 3rd Quarter 2014

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2013 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Rank Origin 3rd Quarter 2014 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Cincinnati, OH 533
2 Madison, WI 508
3 Newark, NJ 506
4 Jackson/Vicksburg, MS 503
5 Houston Bush, TX 501
  Average Fare at All Airports 396
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Mesa, AZ 100
2 Sanford, FL 106
3 Atlantic City, NJ 166
4 Bellingham, WA 185
5 Long Beach, CA 261

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

 

Table 7. One-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Airport Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 3Q 2013 to 3Q 2014

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2013 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

Rank Origin 3rd Quarter 2013 (2014$) 3rd Quarter 2014 (2014$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Jackson/Vicksburg, MS 460 503 9.4
2 Dayton, OH 398 434 9.2
3 Albuquerque, NM 365 394 8.0
4 Norfolk, VA 428 462 8.0
5 Manchester, NH 360 385 7.0
  Average Fare at All Airports 397 396 0.0
  Largest Decreases      
1 Bellingham, WA 211 185 -12.5
2 Savannah/Hilton Head 503 445 -11.6
3 Cleveland, OH 480 445 -7.3
4 Memphis, TN 487 457 -6.3
5 Mesa, AZ 106 100 -5.8

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

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 8. 14-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2000-2014

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2013 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

Rank Origin 3rd Quarter 2000 (2014$) 3rd Quarter 2014 (2014$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Houston Hobby, TX 301 362 20.3
2 Dallas Love Field, TX 264 305 15.5
3 Burbank, CA 260 299 15.1
4 Reno, NV 319 366 15.0
5 Chicago Midway, IL 290 332 14.2
  Average Fare at All Airports 461 396 -14.1
  Largest Decreases      
1 Bellingham, WA 520 185 -64.4
2 White Plains, NY 761 382 -49.8
3 Denver, CO 597 338 -43.4
4 Long Beach, CA 433 261 -39.7
5 Atlantic City, NJ 258 166 -35.8

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

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

For air fares for the following airports, go to http://apps.bts.gov/xml/atpi/src/index.xml

Multiple airport areas for which a single average fare calculation is available are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Top 100 airports based on 2013 originating domestic passengers:

Alabama Birmingham
Arizona Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson
Arkansas Little Rock
California Burbank, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles Intl, Oakland, Ontario/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana (Orange County)
Colorado Colorado Springs, Denver
Connecticut Hartford
District of Columbia Dulles, Reagan National
Florida Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Sanford, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Georgia Atlanta, Savannah
Idaho Boise
Illinois Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
Indiana Indianapolis
Iowa Des Moines
Kansas Wichita
Kentucky Louisville
Louisiana New Orleans
Maine Portland
Maryland Baltimore
Massachusetts Boston
Michigan Detroit, Grand Rapids
Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul
Mississippi Jackson/Vicksburg
Missouri Kansas City, St. Louis
Nebraska Omaha
Nevada Las Vegas, Reno
New Hampshire Manchester
New Jersey Atlantic City, Newark
New Mexico Albuquerque
New York Albany, Buffalo, Islip,New York, JFK, New York LaGuardia, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains  
North Carolina Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham
Ohio Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton
Oklahoma Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Oregon Portland
Pennsylvania Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Rhode Island Providence
South Carolina Charleston, Greenville-Spartanburg
Tennessee Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
Texas Austin, Dallas Love, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston Bush, Houston Hobby, San Antonio
Utah Salt Lake City
Vermont Burlington
Virginia Norfolk, Richmond
Washington Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane
Wisconsin Madison, Milwaukee