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August Airline Traffic Data; Eight-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.5 Percent From 2003

August Airline Traffic Data; Eight-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.5 Percent From 2003

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BTS 31-04
Roger Lotz
202-366-2246

Friday, November 12, 2004 - U.S. airlines carried 7.5 percent more domestic passengers and flew 3.9 percent more domestic flights during the first eight months of this year than they did during the same period last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported, in a release of preliminary data (Table 1).

The airlines carried 424.8 million domestic passengers during the first eight months of 2004, up from the 395.3 million in 2003. These passengers were carried on 6.6 million flights, up 3.9 percent from the 6.4 million flights operated in 2003 (Table 2).

In other domestic comparisons from the first eight months of 2003 to the first eight months of 2004:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 10.5 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 8.3 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 1.5 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 4.7 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 2.8 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 54.8 million domestic passengers during the first eight months of 2004, the most of any airline (Table 3).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during the first eight months of 2004, with 25.5 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

August 2004 Airline Traffic

In August 2004, U.S. airlines carried 56.2 million domestic passengers, 3.5 percent more than in August 2003 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 826,614 flights, down 2.2 percent from the flights operated in August 2003, reflecting the effect of hurricanes in the South.

In other month-to-month domestic comparisons from August 2003 to August 2004:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 6.9 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 6.8 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 0.1 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 7.9 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 3.3 percent.

The number of domestic airline passengers declined 6.1 percent in August from July (Table 1). Month-to-month comparisons may be affected by seasonal factors.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 7.4 million domestic passengers during August, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during August, with 3.3 million passenger boardings (Table 7).

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."

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. August traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 160 airlines as of November 9. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from July 2004 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release September traffic data on December 9.

Table 1: Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2003 2004
January 43,340,153 44,158,500
February 41,503,697 45,658,181
March 50,436,202 54,563,436
April 47,411,468 53,654,125
May 49,461,885 53,363,735
June 52,587,984 57,285,157
July 56,200,411 59,869,975
August 54,370,516 56,246,379
September 44,619,685  
October 50,396,545  
November 47,501,933  
December 50,171,775  
Jan-August Total 395,312,316 424,799,488

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 2: Domestic Airline Travel January to August

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  Jan-Aug 2003 Jan-Aug 2004
Passengers 395,312,316 424,799,488
Flights 6,365,595 6,611,025
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 335,530,738 370,754,298
Available Seat-Miles(000) 453,824,528 491,618,183
Load factor 73.9% 75.4%
Flight stage length 575 602
Passenger trip length 849 873

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 3: Top 10 Airlines, ranked by January to August 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name Jan-Aug 2003 Jan-Aug 2004 Jan-Aug 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 50,608,209 54,826,178 2
2 Delta Air Lines 52,627,725 53,883,756 1
3 American Airlines 49,579,706 49,336,398 3
4 United Airlines 38,219,862 40,781,323 4
5 Northwest Airlines 29,290,335 30,997,587 5
6 U.S. Airways 25,288,418 25,470,731 6
7 Continental Airlines 20,928,261 21,280,188 7
8 America West Airlines 13,012,679 13,443,957 8
9 Alaska Airlines 8,827,573 9,654,633 9
10 American Eagle Airlines 7,630,488 9,336,644 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 4: Top 10 Airports ranked by January-August 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airport Name Jan-Aug 2003 Jan-Aug 2004 Jan-Aug 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 23,896,696 25,477,138 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 19,048,168 20,725,812 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 15,303,605 17,310,821 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 13,293,456 14,456,522 4
5 Denver Int'l 11,595,202 13,322,280 6
6 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 11,232,292 12,845,259 7
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 12,002,874 12,325,351 5
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 10,122,527 10,988,197 8
9 Detroit Metro - Wayne County 9,448,574 10,145,550 9
10 Orlando Int'l 8,518,699 9,923,316 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 5: Domestic Airline Travel in August

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  Aug. 2003 Aug. 2004 Pct. Change
Passengers 54,370,516 56,246,379 3.5
Flights 845,010 826,614 -2.2
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 47,425,372 50,678,356 6.9
Available Seat-Miles(000) 60,241,602 64,315,142 6.8
Load factor 1 1 0.1
Flight stage length 577 622 7.9
Passenger trip length 872 901 3.3

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 6: Top 10 Airlines, ranked by August 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airline Name Aug. 2003 Aug. 2004 Aug 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 6,836,277 7,360,084 2
2 Delta Air Lines 7,009,446 6,999,817 1
3 American Airlines 6,699,904 6,407,856 3
4 United Airlines 5,223,454 5,818,290 4
5 Northwest Airlines 4,050,711 4,278,215 5
6 U.S. Airways 3,370,622 3,286,876 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,806,609 2,786,578 7
8 America West Airlines 1,779,472 1,823,230 8
9 Alaska Airlines 1,393,919 1,478,362 9
10 American Eagle Airlines 1,044,966 1,264,545 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 7: Top 10 Airports ranked by August 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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Rank Airport Name Aug. 2003 Aug. 2004 Aug 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 3,228,738 3,272,736 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 2,570,836 2,872,410 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 2,065,408 2,202,233 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 1,936,226 2,071,603 4
5 Denver Int'l 1,664,542 1,808,108 5
6 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 1,521,327 1,668,595 6
7 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 1,450,908 1,557,454 8
8 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 1,516,570 1,408,554 7
9 Seattle-Tacoma Int'l 1,314,907 1,406,864 9
10 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County 1,275,742 1,378,211 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market