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BTS Releases November Airline Traffic Data; November 2003 Domestic Traffic Up 4.5 Percent From November 2002

BTS Releases November Airline Traffic Data; November 2003 Domestic Traffic Up 4.5 Percent From November 2002

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BTS 03-04
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, February 26, 2004 - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported, in a release of preliminary data, that U.S. airlines carried 46.3 million domestic passengers in November, 4.5 percent more than in November 2002 (Table 1).

These passengers were carried on 778,972 flights, down 5.4 percent from the flights operated in November 2002.

In other domestic comparisons from November 2002 to November 2003:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 9.4 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 3.4 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 3.8 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 6.9 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 4.7 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 6.2 million domestic passengers in November, the most of any airline. (Table 3).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta continued in November to be the busiest domestic airport, with 2.9 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

Table 1. Domestic Airline Travel in November

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  November 2002 November 2003
Passengers 44,270,732 46,255,652
Flights 823,070 778,972
Revenue Passenger Miles (000) 35,824,746 39,176,480
Available Seat-Miles (000) 53,730,045 55,561,112
Load factor 66.68% 70.51%
Flight stage length 567 606
Passenger trip length 809 847

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 * 52,699,681
July * 56,215,910
August * 54,356,366
September * 44,362,049
October 48,322,274 49,464,777
November 44,270,732 46,255,652
December 49,927,814  

* Comparable numbers are not available for earlier months.

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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 November 2003 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name November 2002 October 2003 November 2003 Nov. 2002 Rank
1 Delta Airlines 5,747,360 6,675,188 6,240,097 2
2 Southwest Airlines 5,601,948 6,280,808 6,013,106 3
3 American Airlines 5,840,822 6,004,427 5,449,401 1
4 United Airlines 4,385,278 4,688,073 4,391,521 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,310,804 3,648,275 3,393,827 5
6 US Airways 3,055,777 3,226,481 3,088,498 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,411,641 2,530,875 2,493,280 7
8 America West Airlines 1,514,938 1,609,313 1,499,507 8
9 Alaska Airlines 899,258 1,045,731 1,042,001 9
10 American Eagle Airlines 871,209 1,046,048 1,014,337 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Rank Airline Name November 2002 October 2003 November 2003 Nov. 2002 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson International 2,807,774 3,160,157 2,928,908 1
2 O'Hare International 2,151,175 2,325,878 2,185,353 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth International 1,724,746 1,942,219 1,941,839 3
4 Los Angeles International 1,506,265 1,563,525 1,551,266 4
5 Las Vegas McCarran International 1,192,450 1,487,518 1,354,860 6
6 Phoenix Sky Harbor International 1,338,485 1,411,875 1,337,482 5
7 Denver International 1,142,578 1,454,966 1,283,002 7
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul International 1,061,448 1,254,637 1,143,053 10
9 Detroit Metro Wayne International 1,093,517 1,239,763 1,137,928 8
10 George Bush Intercontinental 1,065,492 1,121,251 1,099,952 9

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. November 2003 traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 135 airlines as of Feb. 23. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from October and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release December traffic numbers on Mar. 11.