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Domestic Airline Traffic Up 6.3 Percent in May 2004 From May 2003

Domestic Airline Traffic Up 6.3 Percent in May 2004 From May 2003

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BTS 22-04
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

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 52.6 million domestic passengers in May, 6.3 percent more than in May 2003 (Table 1).

These passengers were carried on 802,602 flights, up 0.6 percent from the flights operated in May 2003.

In other domestic comparisons from May 2003 to May 2004:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 9.9 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 9.3 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 0.4 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 7.4 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 3.5 percent.

The number of domestic airline passengers fell 2.0 percent in May from April (Table 2). Month-to-month comparisons may be affected by seasonal factors.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 7.1 million domestic passengers in May, the most of any airline (Table 3).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta continued in May to be the busiest domestic airport, with 3.3 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

Table 1: Domestic Airline Travel in May

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  May 2003 May 2004
Passengers 49,461,887 52,568,073
Flights 797,817 802,602
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 41,319,494 45,416,040
Available Seat-Miles(000) 55,797,420 60,971,540
Load factor 74.10% 74.50%
Flight stage length 568 610
Passenger trip length 835 864

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 2. Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2003 2004
January 43,294,291 44,191,631
February 41,449,003 45,656,000
March 50,370,774 54,496,497
April 47,368,701 53,632,596
May 49,461,887 52,568,073
June 52,538,181  
July 56,153,032  
August 54,320,275  
September 44,437,529  
October 50,345,778  
November 47,456,557  
December 50,132,233  

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 May 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name May 2003 April 2004 May 2004 May 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 6,541,247 7,120,432 7,143,265 1
2 Delta Air Lines 6,337,258 6,711,378 6,763,930 2
3 American Airlines 6,218,797 6,211,663 6,081,481 3
4 United Airlines 4,699,311 5,022,073 5,120,358 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,528,516 3,834,684 3,811,950 5
6 US Airways 3,289,483 3,413,018 3,191,354 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,628,289 2,751,538 2,601,105 7
8 America West Airlines 1,665,788 1,648,376 1,675,911 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 989,319 1,170,293 1,200,075 10
10 Alaska Airlines 1,083,729 1,113,157 1,155,343 9

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 4. Top 10 Airports ranked by May 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name May 2003 April 2004 May 2004 May 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson International 3,002,209 3,210,277 3,250,108 1
2 O'Hare International 2,427,656 2,557,797 2,595,585 2
3 Dallas-Ft Worth International 1,950,384 2,119,749 2,183,577 3
4 Los Angeles International 1,613,715 1,814,798 1,781,538 4
5 Las Vegas McCarran International 1,389,926 1,648,323 1,682,580 7
6 Denver International 1,397,636 1,548,628 1,652,840 6
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor International 1,546,937 1,593,536 1,567,579 5
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul International 1,173,550 1,265,398 1,281,557 8
9 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County 1,167,912 1,319,253 1,263,033 9
10 Orlando International 1,040,020 1,304,036 1,221,340 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. May 2004 traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 103 airlines as of August 10. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from April and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release June traffic data on September 16.