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2015 U.S.-Based Airline Traffic Data

Press Release Number: 
BTS 18-16
Date: 
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 895.5 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2015, 5.0 percent more than the previous record high of 853.1 million reached in 2014. The systemwide increase was the result of a 5.0 percent rise from 2014 in the number of passengers on domestic flights (696.2 million in 2015) and 4.7 percent growth from 2014 in passengers on U.S. and foreign airlines’ flights to and from the U.S. (199.4 million in 2015) (Tables 1, 1A, 5).

Passengers on All Scheduled U.S.-Based Flights, Domestic and International, 2003-2015

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Passengers on All Scheduled U.S.-Based Flights, Domestic and International, 2003-2015

SOURCE for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions

U.S. airlines carried 5.0 percent more passengers on domestic flights and 2.3 percent more passengers on international flights in 2015 than in 2014 for a systemwide increase of 4.7 percent. Foreign airlines carried 7.4 percent more passengers to and from the United States than in 2014. The 199.4 million passengers on international flights to and from the United States was a record high, exceeding the previous high set in 2014 (Tables 1A, 1B, 5).

This annual release includes preliminary data on U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service, and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. BTS regular monthly air traffic releases include data on U.S. carrier scheduled service only. For U.S. domestic service data for 2015, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.

Airlines with Most Passengers in 2015
American Airlines carried more total system passengers in 2015 than any other U.S. airline. American also carried more passengers on international flights to and from the U.S. in 2015 than any other U.S. or foreign carrier. American’s passenger numbers include passengers reported as US Airways for the first six months of 2015. British Airways carried the most passengers on flights to and from the U.S. of any foreign airline (Tables 3 and 7).

U.S. Airports with Most Passengers in 2015
More total system passengers boarded planes in 2015 at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport. More passengers boarded international flights at New York John F. Kennedy than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 4 and 8).

Load Factor and Capacity
From 2014 to 2015, systemwide demand, measured in Revenue Passenger-Miles, (RPMs), and capacity, measured in Available Seat-Miles (ASMs), both grew by 5.5 percent. As a result, load factor remained flat at 82.7, which was the highest annual systemwide load factor on record for U.S. carriers and foreign carriers serving the United States (Table 1). 

Demand on international flights, measured in RPMs, rose 5.1 percent in 2015, less than the 5.7 percent rise in capacity measured in ASMs. The result was a decline in the international load factor to 80.5 from 81.0 in 2014 (Table 5).

For annual airline and airport statistics, Tables 1 through 4 provide combined domestic and international travel statistics, and Tables 5 through 8 provide international travel statistics.

Reporting Notes
Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. and foreign air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 203 carriers as of March 16 for U.S. and foreign carrier scheduled civilian operations. See the complete list of reporting and non-reporting carriers

American and US Airways, following their December 2013 merger announcement, began reporting joint data in July 2015.

For additional passenger, flight, Revenue Passenger-Miles, Available Seat-Miles, load factor and freight numbers, go to the Airlines and Airports page and use the Quick Links. International totals and results for foreign carriers may differ from the press release until the next database update scheduled for April 16. Also, the web tables do not include U.S. carrier foreign point-to-point operations. For 2015, U.S. carriers reported 1,300,036 foreign point-to-point passengers.

To create a customized table for U.S. carrier passengers, flights, RPMs, ASMs and other data, including non-scheduled service, go to BTS Air Carrier Traffic Statistics.

Additional traffic numbers are available on the BTS website at TranStats. Click on “Aviation.”  For U.S. carrier system passengers, RPMs and ASMs by carrier through December, click on “Air Carrier Summary Data (Form 41 and 298C Summary Data),” and then click on “Schedule T-1.” Use crosstabs to find scheduled service.

For domestic numbers through December and international numbers through September by origin as well as by carrier, after clicking on “Aviation,” click on “Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic).”  Click on “T-100 Market” for system passenger numbers, “T-100 Domestic Market” for domestic or “T-100 International Market” for international. For flights, stage length and trip length, use the appropriate T-100 Segment database. Use crosstabs to find scheduled service. Complete international data for the full year 2015 will be released on June 16.

TranStats system and international totals do not include U.S. carriers’ foreign point-to-point flights. None of the data are from samples so measures of statistical significance do not apply. Data in this press release is not seasonally adjusted.

 

Table 1. Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

  Annual
2014 2015 Change %
Passengers (in millions) 853.1 895.5 5.0
Flights (in thousands) 9,553.8 9,526.0 -0.3
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions) 1,221.9 1,289.0 5.5
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 1,478.1 1,559.5 5.5
Load Factor** 82.7 82.7 0.0
Flight Stage Length*** 914.2 941.2 2.9
Passenger Trip Length**** 1,432.2 1,439.4 0.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market and Segment

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

** Change in load factor points

*** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

**** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 1A. Annual Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights 2014-2015

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  2014 2015 Change %
U.S. Carrier Domestic 662.8 696.2 5.0
  International 99.9 102.2 2.3
  System 762.7 798.4 4.7
Foreign Carrier To and From U.S. 90.4 97.1 7.4
Total   853.1 895.5 5.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

 

Table 1B. 2015 Passengers on U.S. and Foreign Airlines by Origin and Destination

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  Destination
Domestic Foreign
Origin Domestic Domestic carriers 696.2 Domestic carriers 50.4
Foreign Carriers N/A Foreign Carriers 48.2
Foreign Domestic carriers 50.5 Domestic carriers 1.3
Foreign Carriers 49.0 Foreign Carriers* N/A

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market (All Carriers)

* Foreign carriers do not report to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics on flights without a U.S. origin or destination

 

Table 2. Monthly Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  2013 2014 2013-2014 Pct. Change 2015 2014-2015 Pct. Change
January 61.8 62.8 1.7 65.2 3.8
February 58.0 58.2 0.3 60.6 4.2
March 72.0 73.5 2.2 76.0 3.3
April 67.7 70.9 4.6 73.8 4.2
May 72.1 74.3 3.0 77.4 4.2
June 74.6 76.7 2.8 79.9 4.2
July 77.2 80.7 4.4 85.4 5.9
August 76.0 78.6 3.4 82.8 5.3
September 65.2 67.6 3.7 72.2 6.8
October 69.2 72.2 4.3 76.7 6.3
November 63.9 66.4 3.9 71.4 7.6
December 69.6 71.4 2.6 74.1 3.8
Yr. Total 827.3 853.1 3.1 895.5 5.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 3. Airlines Ranked by 2015 U.S.-Based Scheduled Domestic and International Enplanements*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

2015 Rank Carrier 2015 Enplaned Passengers 2014 Rank 2014 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2014-2015
1 American** 146.550 4 87.830 66.9
2 Southwest*** 144.575 1 135.764 6.5
3 Delta 138.591 2 129.210 7.3
4 United 95.327 3 90.373 5.5
5 JetBlue 35.074 6 32.056 9.4
6 SkyWest 30.078 8 27.786 8.2
7 ExpressJet 26.003 7 30.950 -16.0
8 Alaska 22.828 9 20.935 9.0
9 Spirit 17.629 11 13.979 26.1
10 Republic 13.908 12 13.047 6.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

** American Airlines 2015 passenger number includes 28.256 million passengers reported as US Airways from Jan-Jun 2015. US Airways reported 57.514 million passengers in 2014 and was the fifth ranking airline.

*** Southwest’s numbers include AirTran. The merged Southwest and AirTran reported separately through December 2014 although operating under a single certificate.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 4. U.S. Airports Ranked by 2015 Scheduled Domestic and International Enplanements on U.S. and Foreign Airlines*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

2015 Rank Airport 2015 Enplaned Passengers 2014 Rank 2014 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2014-2015
1 Atlanta 49.314 1 46.577 5.9
2 Los Angeles 36.228 2 34.278 5.7
3 Chicago O'Hare 36.185 3 33.715 7.3
4 Dallas/Fort Worth 31.558 4 30.775 2.5
5 New York JFK 27.601 5 26.196 5.4
6 Denver 26.251 6 25.978 1.1
7 San Francisco 24.131 7 22.743 6.1
8 Charlotte 21.895 8 21.520 1.7
9 Las Vegas 21.638 9 20.349 6.3
10 Phoenix 21.331 10 20.328 4.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5. International Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

  Annual
2014 2015 Change %
Passengers (in millions) 190.3 199.4 4.7
Flights (in thousands) 1,446.6 1,466.8 1.4
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions) 625.9 657.8 5.1
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 772.7 816.7 5.7
Load Factor* 81.0 80.5 -0.5
Flight Stage Length** 2,268.4 2,323.9 2.4
Passenger Trip Length*** 3,288.6 3,299.6 0.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market and Segment

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

** Change in load factor points

*** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

**** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 6. Monthly International Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  2013 2014 2013-2014 Pct. Change 2015 2014-2015 Pct. Change
January 14.0 14.9 6.4 15.5 4.0
February 12.2 12.6 3.4 13.4 6.3
March 15.4 15.8 2.5 16.4 4.2
April 14.5 15.6 7.7 16.1 3.2
May 15.5 16.4 5.4 17.2 4.7
June 16.6 17.4 4.9 18.1 3.7
July 17.9 18.9 5.5 20.3 7.4
August 17.9 18.8 5.3 20.0 6.2
September 14.4 15.1 4.6 16.1 6.5
October 14.5 15.1 3.9 15.8 5.0
November 13.3 13.8 3.5 14.2 3.2
December 15.3 15.9 4.2 16.2 2.0
Yr. Total 181.6 190.3 4.8 199.4 4.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 7. Airlines Ranked by 2015 International Scheduled Enplanements to and from the U.S.*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

2015 Rank Carrier 2015 Enplaned Passengers 2014 Rank 2014 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2014-2015
1 American** 28,491.9 3 21,445.9 32.9
2 United 26,147.9 1 25,704.9 1.7
3 Delta 23,687.3 2 22,990.3 3.0
4 British 7,068.3 4 6,993.0 1.1
5 JetBlue 6,266.3 6 5,607.4 11.8
6 Lufthansa German 5,529.8 7 5,377.8 2.8
7 WestJet 4,340.5 8 4,286.8 1.3
8 Air Canada 3,856.8 9 3,936.8 -2.0
9 Virgin Atlantic 3,589.1 11 3,155.2 13.8
10 Air France 3,574.3 10 3,350.2 6.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

** American Airlines 2015 international passenger number includes 3,478.9 thousand passengers reported as US Airways from Jan-Jun 2015. US Airways reported 6,868.0 thousand international passengers in 2014 and was the fifth ranking airline.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 8. U.S. Airports Ranked by 2015 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

2015 Rank Airport 2015 Enplaned Passengers 2014 Rank 2014 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2014-2015
1 New York JFK 14,464.7 1 13,729.0 5.4
2 Miami 10,030.0 2 9,692.8 3.5
3 Los Angeles 9,673.9 3 9,152.5 5.7
4 Newark 5,766.8 4 5,804.5 -0.6
5 Chicago O'Hare 5,648.5 5 5,616.6 0.6
6 Atlanta 5,404.8 6 5,245.4 3.0
7 San Francisco 5,321.1 7 4,997.9 6.5
8 Houston Bush 5,089.9 8 4,744.6 7.3
9 Dallas/Fort Worth 3,754.6 10 3,465.1 8.4
10 Washington Dulles 3,436.5 9 3,465.7 -0.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.