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4th-Quarter 2012 Domestic Air Fare Almost Unchanged from 4th Quarter 2011 (Adjusted for Inflation)

Press Release Number: 
BTS 21-13
Date: 
Monday, May 6, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Huntsville, Lowest Fares at Atlantic City

Domestic Air Fares

4th Quarter Average Domestic Fares 1995-2012

The average domestic air fare declined to $374 in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 0.2 percent from the average fare of $375 in the fourth quarter of 2011, measured in 2012 dollars (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $544, while Atlantic City, N.J., had the lowest, $157 (Table 6).

The fourth-quarter 2012 fare in 2012 dollars was down 16.7 percent from the average fare of $449 in 2000, the highest of any fourth quarter adjusted for inflation (Table 2).  

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, 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. 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 the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or abnormally high reported fares.

Passenger airlines collected 70.7 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the first nine months of 2012, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

From 2000 to 2012, inflation-adjusted fares declined 16.7 percent while there was an overall increase in consumer prices of 32.0 percent. In the 17 years from 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 13.1 percent compared to a 49.6 percent increase in consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
Inflation-adjusted fourth-quarter fares rose 2.6 percent from the third quarter of 2012 (Table 3). Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

Air Fares in Unadjusted Dollars
Not adjusted for inflation, the $374 fourth-quarter 2012 average fare was the highest average fare for any fourth quarter since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The previous fourth-quarter high was $368 in 2011 (Table 4).

Unadjusted fourth-quarter 2012 fares were up 1.9 percent from the third quarter of 2012 (Table 5). Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors such as the number of passengers. See Tables 13-16 for additional unadjusted fare data by airport.

Fares by Airport
See Tables 6-8 for data about the top 100 airports based on 2011 originating passengers. All figures in 2012 dollars.

Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the fourth quarter: Huntsville had the highest average fare ($544) while Atlantic City had the lowest ($157). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2012 dollars from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012: Newport News/Williamsburg, Va., had the largest increase (29.2 percent) and Colorado Springs, CO, had the largest decrease (22.1 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2012 dollars from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2012: Newport News/Williamsburg had the largest increase (23.1 percent) and Atlantic City had the largest decrease (47.5 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. First-quarter 2013 average fare data will be released on July 24.

 

Table 1. 4th Quarter Average Fare 1995-2012, 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 2012 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 430 - -
1996 403 -6.4 -6.4
1997 418 3.7 -2.9
1998 443 6.0 2.9
1999 434 -2.1 0.8
2000 449 3.5 4.3
2001 390 -13.2 -9.5
2002 392 0.6 -8.9
2003 393 0.4 -8.6
2004 359 -8.8 -16.7
2005 367 2.4 -14.7
2006 362 -1.4 -15.9
2007 360 -0.4 -16.3
2008 377 4.6 -12.4
2009 340 -9.9 -21.0
2010 351 3.1 -18.5
2011 375 6.9 -12.9
2012 374 -0.2 -13.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2012

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 (1Q) 70.0
2012 (2Q) 70.8
2012 (3Q) 71.2
2012 (thru 3Q) 70.7

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 2012 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 ... Duration in Years Average Fare in 2012 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 4th Quarter 2012 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Dec 2012
2012   374    
2011 1 375 -0.2 1.7
2010 2 351 6.6 4.8
2009 3 340 9.9 6.3
2008 4 377 -0.9 9.2
2007 5 360 3.7 9.3
2006 6 362 3.3 13.8
2005 7 367 1.8 16.7
2004 8 359 4.2 20.7
2003 9 393 -5.0 24.6
2002 10 392 -4.6 26.9
2001 11 390 -4.0 29.9
2000 12 449 -16.7 32.0
1999 13 434 -13.8 36.4
1998 14 443 -15.6 40.1
1997 15 418 -10.5 42.3
1996 16 403 -7.2 44.8
1995 17 430 -13.1 49.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

 

Table 3. 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 (2012$)
Average Fare in 2012 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
3Q 2010 357  
4Q 2010 351 -1.8
1Q 2011 365 4.2
2Q 2011 376 2.9
3Q 2011 365 -2.9
4Q 2011 375 2.7
1Q 2012 373 -0.5
2Q 2012 385 3.2
3Q 2012 364 -5.4
4Q 2012 374 2.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Note: Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

 

Table 4. Unadjusted 4th Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2012

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 (4Q 1995 to 4Q 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 1.5 29.7

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 (%)
3Q 2010 340 -0.3
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 -4.6
4Q 2012 374 1.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Note: Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

 

Table 6. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 4th Quarter 2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 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 2012 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Huntsville, AL 544
2 Cincinnati, OH 518
3 Houston Bush, TX 501
4 Washington Dulles 493
5 Newark-Liberty, NJ 484
  Average Fare at All Airports 374
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Atlantic City, NJ 157
2 Long Beach, CA 234
3 Fort Lauderdale, FL 267
4 Las Vegas, NV 268
5 Orlando, FL 276

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, 4th Quarter 2011 to 4th Quarter 2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 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 2011 (2012$) 4th Quarter 2012 (2012$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 334 431 29.2
2 Huntsville, AL 482 544 12.9
3 Houston Hobby, TX 309 336 8.5
4 Milwaukee, WI 310 332 7.3
5 Knoxville, TN 433 463 7.1
  Average Fare at All Airports 375 374 -0.2
  Largest Decreases      
1 Colorado Springs, CO 477 372 -22.1
2 Atlantic City, NJ 192 157 -17.9
3 Des Moines, IA 429 387 -9.8
4 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 304 282 -7.4
5 Atlanta, GA 385 361 -6.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 8. 12-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2000-2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 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 (2012$) 4th Quarter 2012 (2012$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 350 431 23.1
2 Houston Hobby, TX 289 336 16.1
3 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 248 282 13.6
4 Reno, NV 292 327 12.3
5 El Paso, TX 341 378 11.0
  Average Fare at All Airports 449 374 -16.7
  Largest Decreases      
1 Atlantic City, NJ 300 157 -47.5
2 White Plains, NY 728 390 -46.4
3 Denver, CO 552 320 -42.0
4 Long Beach, CA 396 234 -41.0
5 Charlotte, NC 654 397 -39.2

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: 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
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, Flint, 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 Newport News/Williamsburg, Norfolk, Richmond
Washington Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane
Wisconsin Madison, Milwaukee