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4th-Quarter 2014 Air Fare Data

Press Release Number: 
BTS 21-15
Date: 
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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The average domestic air fare increased to $393 in the fourth quarter of 2014, up 2.0 percent from $385 in the fourth quarter of 2013, adjusted for inflation (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Of the 100 busiest airports, during the October to December 2014 period, passengers originating in Madison, Wisconsin, paid the highest average fare, $505, while passengers originating in Sanford, Florida, paid the lowest, $99 (Table 6).

U.S. Average Domestic Air Fares, 4th Quarter 1995-2014

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4th-Quarter 2014 Air Fare Data

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 31 percent of fares calculated for the fourth 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 fees for optional services, 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
Fourth-quarter fares rose 10.2 percent from the recession-affected low of $348 in 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2011. Since 2011, fourth-quarter fares have shown little change, increasing 2.4 percent from 2011 to 2014 (Table 1).

The fourth-quarter 2014 fare was down 14.4 percent from the average fare of $459 in 2000, the highest inflation-adjusted fourth quarter average fare in the 19 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The 14.4 percent decline took place while overall consumer prices rose 37 percent. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 10.8 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 71.2 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2014, the latest period for which revenue data are available, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

Annual Fares
The average fare of $391 for the full year 2014 was up 0.6 percent, inflation-adjusted, from the 2013 average fare of $389 but down 16.2 percent from the inflation-adjusted annual high of $467 in 2000. Not adjusted for inflation, the $391 average fare in 2014 is the highest annual fare since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995, 2.5 percent higher than the previous high of $382 in 2013.

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
In the three-year period from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2014, inflation-adjusted fares increased 2.4 percent. In the two-year period from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2014, inflation-adjusted fares increased 2.6 percent (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares
The $393 fourth-quarter 2014 average fare, up 2.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013, is the highest average fare for any fourth quarter since 1995. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 36.4 percent (Table 4).

Fourth-quarter 2014 fares were down 0.8 percent from the third quarter of 2014, which at $396 was the all-time unadjusted high (Table 5). See Tables 13-16 for additional unadjusted fare data by airport.

Fares by Airport
Tables 6-8 provide fare data for 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 fourth quarter: Madison, Wisconsin, had the highest average fare ($505) while Sanford, Florida had the lowest ($99). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014: Dayton, Ohio, had the largest increase (15.2 percent) and Cleveland, Ohio, had the largest decrease (-10.6 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2014: Reno, Nevada had the largest increase (21.4 percent) and Bellingham, Washington, had the largest decrease (-51.2 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 2015 average fare data will be released July 21.

 

Table 1. 4th Quarter Average Fare 1995-2014, Adjusted for Inflation

  Average Fare in constant 2014 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 440    
1996 412 -6.4 3.3
1997 427 3.7 5.1
1998 453 6.0 6.8
1999 444 -2.1 9.6
2000 459 3.5 13.4
2001 398 -13.2 15.1
2002 401 0.6 17.9
2003 402 0.4 20.1
2004 367 -8.8 24.0
2005 376 2.4 28.2
2006 370 -1.4 31.5
2007 369 -0.4 36.8
2008 386 4.7 37.0
2009 348 -9.9 40.7
2010 359 3.1 42.8
2011 383 6.9 47.0
2012 383 -0.2 49.6
2013 385 0.6 51.8
2014 393 2.0 53.0

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&...

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

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

Since 4th Quarter of ... Duration in Years Average Fare in constant 2014 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 4thQuarter 2014 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Sep 2014
2014   393    
2013 1 385 2.0 1.7
2012 2 383 2.6 2.9
2011 3 383 2.4 4.9
2010 4 359 9.5 9.0
2009 5 348 12.9 10.2
2008 6 386 1.8 8.8
2007 7 369 6.5 14.2
2006 8 370 6.1 17.3
2005 9 376 4.6 19.7
2004 10 367 7.0 25.3
2003 11 402 -2.4 28.5
2002 12 401 -2.1 31.5
2001 13 398 -1.4 33.5
2000 14 459 -14.4 37.0
1999 15 444 -11.5 41.8
1998 16 453 -13.3 45.5
1997 17 427 -8.1 47.7
1996 18 412 -4.7 50.8
1995 19 440 -10.8 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&...

* 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 385 2.9
3Q 2011 373 -2.9
4Q 2011 383 2.7
1Q 2012 382 -0.4
2Q 2012 394 3.1
3Q 2012 372 -5.4
4Q 2012 383 2.8
1Q 2013 381 -0.4
2Q 2013 380 -0.3
3Q 2013 391 2.9
4Q 2013 385 -1.6
1Q 2014* 382 -0.7
2Q 2014* 396 3.5
3Q 2014* 396 0.2
4Q 2014* 393 -0.9

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&...

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, 1995-2014

  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 3.0
1997 294 5.5 5.2
1998 316 7.7 6.8
1999 318 0.6 9.6
2000 340 7.0 13.4
2001 300 -11.8 16.4
2002 309 3.0 18.1
2003 316 2.2 20.9
2004 297 -5.9 24.0
2005 315 5.9 29.8
2006 318 1.1 32.4
2007 330 3.6 36.1
2008 345 4.7 42.8
2009 320 -7.4 41.0
2010 335 4.7 42.6
2011 368 10.0 48.1
2012 374 1.6 51.0
2013 382 2.1 52.8
2014 393 2.8 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&...

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 0.1
4Q 2014 393 -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&...

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

 

Table 6. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 4th Quarter 2014

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

Rank Origin 4th Quarter 2014 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Madison, WI 505
2 Newark, NJ 489
3 Cincinnati, OH 485
4 Jackson/Vicksburg, MS 482
5 Houston Bush, TX 469
  Average Fare at All Airports 393
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Sanford, FL 99
2 Mesa, AZ 112
3 Atlantic City, NJ 170
4 Bellingham, WA 235
5 Long Beach, CA 258

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&...

* 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 2013 to 4Q 2014

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

Rank Origin 4th Quarter 2013 (2014$) 4th Quarter 2014 (2014$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Dayton, OH 374 431 15.2
2 Norfolk, VA 410 463 12.7
3 Jackson/Vicksburg, MS 437 482 10.4
4 Albuquerque, NM 357 393 10.2
5 Knoxville, TN 406 445 9.6
  Average Fare at All Airports 385 393 2.0
  Largest Decreases      
1 Cleveland, OH 462 413 -10.6
2 Washington Dulles 509 462 -9.2
3 Savannah/Hilton Head 484 441 -9.0
4 Houston Bush, TX 501 469 -6.5
5 Cincinnati, OH 514 485 -5.7

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&...

* 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 4th Quarter 2000 (2014$) 4th Quarter 2014 (2014$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Reno, NV 298 362 21.4
2 Houston Hobby, TX 296 347 17.3
3 Burbank, CA 254 293 15.6
4 El Paso, TX 348 401 15.2
5 Spokane, WA 339 377 11.1
  Average Fare at All Airports 459 393 -14.4
  Largest Decreases      
1 Bellingham, WA 482 235 -51.2
2 White Plains, NY 744 410 -44.9
3 Atlantic City, NJ 307 170 -44.7
4 Sanford, FL 170 99 -41.9
5 Denver, CO 565 336 -40.4

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&...

* 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