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1st-Quarter 2013 Domestic Air Fare Almost Unchanged from 1st Quarter 2012 (Adjusted for Inflation)

Press Release Number: 
BTS 34-13
Date: 
Wednesday, July 24, 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

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

The average domestic air fare rose to $379 in the first quarter of 2013, up 0.1 percent from the average fare of $378 in the first quarter of 2012, measured in 2013 dollars (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $543, while Atlantic City, N.J., had the lowest, $169 (Table 6).

The first-quarter 2013 fare in 2013 dollars was down 19.1 percent from the average fare of $468 in 1999, the highest of any first 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 70.1 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the first three months of 2013, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

From 2000 to 2013, inflation-adjusted fares declined 18.1 percent while there was an overall increase in consumer prices of 36 percent. In the 18 years from 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 17 percent compared to a 53.7 percent increase in consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
Over the past three years, from the second quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares rose 5.6 percent (Table 3).

Air Fares in Unadjusted Dollars
Not adjusted for inflation, the $379 first-quarter 2013 average fare was the highest average fare for any first quarter since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. The previous first-quarter high was $373 in 2012 (Table 4).

Unadjusted first-quarter 2013 fares were up 1.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 (Table 5). 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 2012 originating passengers. All figures in 2013 dollars.

Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the first quarter: Huntsville had the highest average fare ($543) while Atlantic City had the lowest ($169). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2013 dollars from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013: Knoxville, Tenn., had the largest increase (16.3 percent) and Memphis, Tenn., had the largest decrease (9.0 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in 2013 dollars from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2013: Dallas Love, Texas., had the largest increase (27.4 percent) and Long Beach, Calif., had the largest decrease (53.0 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. Second-quarter 2013 average fare data will be released on Oct. 31.

 

Table 1. 1st 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 2013 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q to 1Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%)
1995 444 - -
1996 409 -7.9 -7.9
1997 415 1.5 -6.5
1998 440 6.0 -0.9
1999 450 2.3 1.4
2000 456 1.3 2.7
2001 420 -7.9 -5.4
2002 402 -4.3 -9.5
2003 397 -1.2 -10.6
2004 375 -5.5 -15.5
2005 365 -2.7 -17.8
2006 378 3.6 -14.9
2007 364 -3.7 -18.0
2008 373 2.5 -16.0
2009 335 -10.2 -24.5
2010 357 6.6 -19.6
2011 375 5.0 -15.5
2012 378 0.9 -14.8
2013(1Q) 379 0.1 -14.7

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(Q1) 70.1

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

(1st Quarter to 1st Quarter for fares; Mar to Mar 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 1st Quarter ... Duration in Years Average Fare in 2013 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 1st Quarter 2013 (%) Inflation Rate Change to Mar 2013
2013   379    
2012 1 378 0.1 1.5
2011 2 371 2.2 4.2
2010 3 351 7.9 7.0
2009 4 343 10.3 9.4
2008 5 363 4.2 9.0
2007 6 360 5.1 13.4
2006 7 377 0.5 16.5
2005 8 363 4.3 20.4
2004 9 398 -4.8 24.2
2003 10 403 -6.1 26.4
2002 11 417 -9.1 30.2
2001 12 459 -17.6 32.1
2000 13 463 -18.1 36.0
1999 14 468 -19.1 41.1
1998 15 437 -13.4 43.5
1997 16 412 -8.2 45.5
1996 17 425 -10.8 49.5
1995 18 456 -17.0 53.7

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 (2013$)
Average Fare in 2013 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2010 359 2.2
3Q 2010 360 0.4
4Q 2010 352 -2.4
1Q 2011 370 5.2
2Q 2011 377 1.9
3Q 2011 368 -2.4
4Q 2011 376 2.1
1Q 2012 376 0.2
2Q 2012 385 2.2
3Q 2012 367 -4.6
4Q 2012 374 1.9
1Q 2013 379 1.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Note: Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

 

Table 4. Unadjusted 1st 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 (1Q to 1Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) (%)
1995 297    
1996 284 -4.4 -4.4
1997 283 -0.2 -4.5
1998 305 7.5 2.6
1999 332 8.9 11.7
2000 340 2.6 14.6
2001 348 2.2 17.1
2002 320 -8.0 7.8
2003 319 -0.3 7.5
2004 320 0.3 7.9
2005 301 -5.9 1.5
2006 323 7.3 8.9
2007 318 -1.7 7.1
2008 333 4.9 12.3
2009 314 -5.8 5.7
2010 328 4.6 10.5
2011 356 8.4 19.8
2012 373 4.8 25.6
2013(Q1) 379 1.6 27.5

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
1Q 2013 379 1.2

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 1st Quarter 2013

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 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 1st Quarter 2013 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Huntsville, AL 543
2 Cincinnati, OH 519
3 Houston Bush, TX 503
4 Washington Dulles 493
5 Savannah, GA 493
  Average Fare at All Airports 379
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Atlantic City, NJ 169
2 Long Beach, CA 220
3 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 273
4 Las Vegas, NV 274
5 Bellingham, WA 283

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, 1st Quarter 2012 to 1st Quarter 2013

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 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 1st Quarter 2012 (2013$) 1st Quarter 2013 (2013$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Knoxville TN 410 477 16.3
2 Milwaukee, WI 316 358 13.2
3 San Francisco, CA 382 414 8.4
4 Lexington, KY 405 437 7.8
5 Spokane, WA 360 386 7.4
  Average Fare at All Airports 376 379 0.6
  Largest Decreases      
1 Memphis, TN 525 478 -9.0
2 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 454 416 -8.4
3 Des Moines, IA 438 408 -6.9
4 Colorado Springs, CO 414 386 -6.8
5 Washington Reagan National 394 372 -5.7

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 2012 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 1st Quarter 2000 (2013$) 1st Quarter 2013 (2013$) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Dallas Love, TX 223 285 27.4
2 Spokane, WA 325 386 18.9
3 Reno, NV 284 338 18.8
4 Houston Hobby, TX 289 335 16.0
5 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 242 273 12.6
  Average Fare at All Airports 463 379 -18.2
  Largest Decreases      
1 Long Beach, CA 468 220 -53.0
2 White Plains, NY 826 398 -51.9
3 Denver, CO 603 321 -46.8
4 Atlantic City, NJ 289 169 -41.6
5 Greenville/Spartanburg, SC 703 412 -41.5

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, Savannah
Idaho Boise
Illinois Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
Indiana Indianapolis
Iowa Des Moines
Kansas Wichita
Kentucky Lexington, 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