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4th-Quarter 2013 Domestic Air Fare Up 0.3% from 4th Quarter 2012 (Adjusted for Inflation)

Press Release Number: 
BTS 20-14
Date: 
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Huntsville, Lowest Fares at Long Beach

Domestic Air Fares

Table VersionExcel

4th Quarter Average Domestic Fares 1995-2013

The average domestic air fare increased to $381 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 0.3 percent from the average fare of $380 in the fourth quarter of 2012, adjusted for inflation in constant 2013 dollars (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  During that October to December period, Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $528, while Long Beach, Calif., had the lowest, $249 (Table 6).

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 were 28 percent of fares calculated for the fourth quarter of 2013. 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.

Fourth-quarter fares rose 10.2 percent adjusted for inflation from the recession-affected low of $345 in 2009 to $380 in 2011, approaching the 2008 level of $383. Since 2011, fourth, quarter fares have shown little change, dropping 0.2 percent from 2011 to 2012, and rising 0.3 percent from 2012 to 2013.  Fourth-quarter fares were 0.2 percent above the 2011 level (Table 1).

The fourth-quarter 2013 fare was down 16.3 percent adjusted for inflation in constant 2013 dollars from the average fare of $455 in 2000, the highest inflation-adjusted fourth quarter average fare in the 18 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995 (Table 2).  The 16.3 percent decline took place while there was an increase in overall consumer prices of 33.9 percent. In the 18 years since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 12.8 percent compared to a 51.8 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

U.S. passenger airlines collected 71.5 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2013, the most recent quarter available, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

Annual Fares
The average fare of $381 for the full year 2013 was up 0.1 percent, inflation-adjusted, from the 2012 average fare of $380 but down 17.0 percent from the inflation-adjusted annual high of $459 in 2000.  Not adjusted for inflation, the $381 average fare in 2013 is the highest annual fare since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995, 1.6 percent higher than the previous high of $375 in 2012.

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
In the three-year period from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares increased 7.0 percent. In the two-year period from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares increased 0.2 percent (Table 3).

Air Fares in Unadjusted Dollars
Not adjusting for inflation, the $381 fourth-quarter 2013 average fare was the highest average fare for any fourth quarter since 1995. The previous highest unadjusted fourth-quarter fare was $374 in 2013 (Table 4).

Unadjusted fourth-quarter 2013 fares were down 1.8 percent from the third quarter of 2013 (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 2013 dollars.

Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the fourth quarter: Huntsville had the highest average fare ($528) while Long Beach had the lowest ($249). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in constant 2013 dollars from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013: Colorado Springs, Colo., had the largest increase (15.6 percent) and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had the largest decrease (16.5 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in constant 2013 dollars from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2013: Midland/Odessa, Texas, had the largest increase (43.1 percent) and White Plains, N.Y., had the largest decrease (43.9 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 12 on the BTS website.

The top 100 airports based on 2013 originating passengers include Cedar Rapids, Fayetteville, Ark., Midland/Odessa and Savannah, Ga. No longer included on the list are Atlantic City, N.J., Bellingham, Wash., Flint, Mich., and Newport News, Va.

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. First-quarter 2014 average fare data will be released on July 22.

 

Table 1. 4th Quarter Average Fare 1995-2013, Adjusted for Inflation

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

  Average Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (4Q to 4Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (4Q 1995 to 4Q of each year) (%)
1995 437    
1996 409 -6.4 -6.4
1997 424 3.7 -2.9
1998 450 6.0 2.9
1999 440 -2.1 0.8
2000 455 3.5 4.3
2001 395 -13.2 -9.5
2002 398 0.6 -8.9
2003 399 0.4 -8.6
2004 364 -8.8 -16.7
2005 373 2.4 -14.7
2006 367 -1.4 -15.9
2007 366 -0.4 -16.3
2008 383 4.7 -12.4
2009 345 -9.9 -21.0
2010 356 3.1 -18.5
2011 380 6.9 -12.9
2012 380 -0.2 -13.1
2013 381 0.3 -12.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2013

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 (1Q) 70.2
2013 (2Q) 70.8
2013 (3Q) 71.5
2013 (thru 3Q) 70.9

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 2013 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(4th Quarter to 4th Quarter for fares; Dec to Dec for inflation)

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Since 4th Quarter of ... Duration in Years Average Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 4th Quarter 2013 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Dec 2013
2013   381    
2012 1 380 0.3 1.5
2011 2 380 0.2 3.3
2010 3 356 7.0 6.3
2009 4 345 10.4 7.9
2008 5 383 -0.5 10.9
2007 6 366 4.1 11.0
2006 7 367 3.7 15.5
2005 8 373 2.2 18.4
2004 9 364 4.7 22.5
2003 10 399 -4.6 26.5
2002 11 398 -4.2 28.8
2001 12 395 -3.6 31.9
2000 13 455 -16.3 33.9
1999 14 440 -13.4 38.5
1998 15 450 -15.2 42.2
1997 16 424 -10.1 44.5
1996 17 409 -6.8 46.9
1995 18 437 -12.8 51.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* 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

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (2013$)
Average Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
4Q 2010 356  
1Q 2011 371 4.2
2Q 2011 382 2.9
3Q 2011 371 -2.9
4Q 2011 380 2.7
1Q 2012 379 -0.5
2Q 2012 391 3.2
3Q 2012 369 -5.5
4Q 2012 380 2.9
1Q 2013* 379 -0.3
2Q 2013* 375 -0.9
3Q 2013* 388 3.4
4Q 2013* 381 -1.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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 4th Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2013

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

  Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (4Q to 4Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year) (%)
1995 288    
1996 278 -3.3 -3.3
1997 294 5.5 2.0
1998 316 7.7 9.9
1999 318 0.6 10.5
2000 340 7.0 18.2
2001 300 -11.8 4.2
2002 309 3.0 7.3
2003 316 2.2 9.7
2004 297 -5.9 3.3
2005 315 5.9 9.4
2006 318 1.1 10.6
2007 330 3.6 14.6
2008 345 4.7 20.0
2009 320 -7.4 11.1
2010 335 4.7 16.3
2011 368 10.0 28.0
2012 374 1.6 30.0
2013 381 1.8 32.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
4Q 2010 335 -1.5
1Q 2011 356 6.3
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 -4.7
4Q 2012 374 2.1
1Q 2013 379 1.2
2Q 2013 375 -0.9
3Q 2013 388 3.4
4Q 2013 381 -1.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 6. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 4th Quarter 2013

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

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Rank Origin 4th Quarter 2013 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Huntsville, AL 528
2 Cincinnati, OH 510
3 Washington Dulles 506
4 Newark-Liberty, NJ 499
5 Houston Bush, TX 498
  Average Fare at All Airports 381
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Long Beach, CA 249
2 Las Vegas, NV 255
3 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 281
4 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 289
5 Dallas Love, TX 291

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* 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, 4Q 2012 to 4Q 2013

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

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Rank Origin 4th Quarter 2012 (2013$) 4th Quarter 2013 (2013$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Colorado Springs, CO 381 441 15.6
2 Atlanta, GA 366 399 9.0
3 New York LaGuardia, NY 359 390 8.4
4 Orlando, FL 280 303 8.3
5 Ft. Myers, FL 304 326 7.2
  Average Fare at All Airports 380 381 0.3
  Largest Decreases      
1 Cedar Rapids, IA 443 370 -16.5
2 Knoxville TN 470 403 -14.3
3 Memphis, TN 487 434 -10.8
4 Fayetteville, AR 524 485 -7.4
5 Harrisburg, PA 454 420 -7.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 8. 13-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2000-2013

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

Fares are 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. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Rank Origin 4th Quarter 2000 (2013$) 4th Quarter 2013 (2013$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Midland/Odessa, TX 294 421 43.1
2 Reno, NV 296 347 17.2
3 Houston Hobby, TX 293 339 15.6
4 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 252 281 11.7
5 El Paso, TX 346 384 11.2
  Average Fare at All Airports 455 381 -16.3
  Largest Decreases      
1 White Plains, NY 739 414 -43.9
2 Greenville/Spartanburg, SC 644 372 -42.3
3 Denver, CO 561 328 -41.5
4 Charlotte, NC 664 406 -38.9
5 Long Beach, CA 402 249 -38.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* 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.

Airports covered by average fare calculations are:

Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson
Arkansas: Fayetteville, 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, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Georgia: Atlanta, Savannah
Idaho: Boise
Illinois: Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
Indiana: Indianapolis
Iowa: Cedar Rapids, 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: 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, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio
Utah: Salt Lake City
Vermont: Burlington
Virginia: Norfolk, Richmond
Washington: Seattle, Spokane
Wisconsin: Madison, Milwaukee