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BTS Releases October Airline Traffic Data; October 2003 Domestic Traffic Up 2.4 Percent From October 2002

BTS Releases October Airline Traffic Data; October 2003 Domestic Traffic Up 2.4 Percent From October 2002

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BTS 02-04
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, February 12, 2004 - The U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported, in a release of preliminary data, that U.S. airlines carried 49.5 million domestic passengers in October, 2.4 percent more than in October 2002 (Table 1).

These passengers were carried on 852,544 flights, down 3.8 percent from the flights operated in October 2002.

In other domestic comparisons from October 2002 to October 2003:
Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 5.4 percent.
Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 0.2 percent.
Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 3.6 percentage points.
Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 4.4 percent.
Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 3.1 percent.

Commuter and small certificated carriers began reporting traffic data in October 2002, providing the first complete picture of monthly airline travel. BTS is making comparisons only for the months since October 2002 since earlier numbers are not comparable (Table 2).

Among airlines, Delta Airlines carried 6.7 million domestic passengers in October, the most of any airline (Table 3).

Among airports, Hartsfield International in Atlanta continued in October to be the busiest domestic airport, with 3.2 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

Table 1. Domestic Airline Travel in October

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  October 2002 October 2003
Passengers 48,322,274 49,464,670
Flights 886,126 852,544
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 39,406,759 41,549,162
Available Seat-Miles(000) 58,014,064 58,102,726
Load factor (%) 67.9% 71.5%
Flight stage length (miles) 566 591
Passenger trip length (miles) 815 840

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 2. Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2002 2003
January * 43,436,180
February * 41,529,612
March * 50,475,122
April * 47,559,033
May * 49,582,440
June * 52,697,549
July * 56,189,857
August * 54,354,192
September * 44,362,049
October 48,322,274 49,464,670
November 44,270,732  
December 49,927,814  

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

* Comparable numbers are not available for earlier months.

Additional airline traffic data can be found on the BTS website at TranStats, the Intermodal Transportation Database at http://transtats.bts.gov. Click on aviation, then on Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic), then click on T-100 Domestic Market.

Table 3. Top 10 Airlines, ranked by October 2003 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name October 2002 September 2003 October 2003 Oct. 2002 Rank
1 Delta Airlines 7,092,859 5,745,634 6,675,188 1
2 Southwest Airlines 6,065,285 5,746,988 6,280,808 3
3 American Airlines 6,487,677 5,271,735 6,004,427 2
4 United Airlines 4,833,972 4,265,898 4,688,073 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,463,052 3,254,774 3,648,275 5
6 US Airways 3,260,799 2,570,689 3,226,481 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,533,451 2,228,328 2,530,875 7
8 America West Airlines 1,643,345 1,495,731 1,609,313 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 966,531 933,656 1,046,048 9
10 Alaska Airlines 931,774 1,032,805 1,045,731 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 4. Top 10 Airports ranked by October 2003 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airport Name October 2002 September 2003 October 2003 Oct. 2002 Rank
1 Atlanta Hartsfield International 2,999,856 2,717,758 3,160,157 1
2 Chicago O'Hare International 2,443,487 2,233,957 2,325,878 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth International 1,914,538 1,679,715 1,942,219 3
4 Los Angeles International 1,585,316 1,443,026 1,563,525 4
5 Las Vegas-McCarron International 1,247,393 1,343,724 1,487,518 7
6 Denver International 1,295,536 1,378,344 1,454,966 6
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor International 1,409,125 1,291,175 1,411,875 5
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul International 1,182,875 1,143,599 1,254,637 8
9 Detroit Metro Wayne County 1,177,245 1,089,979 1,239,763 9
10 Houston Intercontinental 1,065,492 1,004,227 1,121,251 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by commercial air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. October 2003 traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 102 airlines as of Feb. 10. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from September and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release November traffic on Feb. 26.