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September Airline Traffic Data: Nine-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.5 Percent From 2003

September Airline Traffic Data: Nine-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.5 Percent From 2003

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BTS 34-04
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - U.S. airlines carried 7.5 percent more domestic passengers and flew 3.7 percent more domestic flights during the first nine 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 2).

The airlines carried 472.3 million domestic passengers during the first nine months of 2004, up from the 439.6 million carried between January and September 2003 (Table 1). The passengers were carried on 7.4 million flights, up 3.7 percent from the 7.2 million flights operated in 2003 (Table 2).

In other domestic comparisons from the first nine months of 2003 to the first nine 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 7.9 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 1.7 points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 4.6 percent.

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

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 61.0 million domestic passengers during the first nine 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 nine months of 2004, with 28.1 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

September 2004 Airline Traffic

In September 2004, U.S. airlines carried 47.8 million domestic passengers, 7.2 percent more than in September 2003 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 803,243 flights, up 1.3 percent from the flights operated in September 2003.

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

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 10.1 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 4.8 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 3.4 points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 4.1 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 2.7 percent.

The number of domestic airline passengers declined 15.0 percent in September from August (Table 1). Month-to-month comparisons may be affected by seasonal factors.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 6.1 million domestic passengers during September, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during September, with 2.7 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. Septembertraffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 212 airlines as of Dec. 7. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from August 2004 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release October traffic data on Jan. 13.

Table 1: Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2003 2004
January 43,301,100 44,115,683
February 41,503,697 45,612,845
March 50,387,301 54,512,292
April 47,363,867 53,610,655
May 49,412,318 53,320,696
June 52,539,413 57,239,910
July 56,148,255 59,869,741
August 54,319,794 56,257,589
September 44,576,369 47,794,910
October 50,350,562  
November 47,455,309  
December 50,126,721  
Jan-September Total 439,552,114 472,334,321

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 2: Domestic Airline Travel January to September

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  Jan-Sep 2003 Jan-Sep 2004 Change
Passengers 439,552,114 472,334,321 7.5%
Flights 7,158,809 7,421,467 3.7%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 372,742,314 411,732,441 10.5%
Available Seat-Miles(000) 509,391,495 549,850,683 7.9%
Load factor 73.17% 74.88% 1.7 pts
Flight stage length 574 601 4.6%
Passenger trip length 848 872 2.8%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

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

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Rank Airline Name Jan-Sep 2003 Jan-Sep 2004 Jan-Sep 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 56,355,197 60,954,558 2
2 Delta Air Lines 58,373,359 59,493,659 1
3 American Airlines 54,851,441 54,663,177 3
4 United Airlines 42,485,760 45,590,457 4
5 Northwest Airlines 32,545,109 34,453,224 5
6 U.S. Airways 27,859,107 28,203,578 6
7 Continental Airlines 23,156,589 23,547,756 7
8 America West Airlines 14,508,410 15,069,456 8
9 Alaska Airlines 9,860,378 10,808,645 9
10 American Eagle Airlines 8,564,144 10,565,247 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Rank Airport Name Jan-Sep 2003 Jan-Sep 2004 Jan-Sep 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 26,614,454 28,135,037 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 21,282,125 23,284,557 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 16,985,311 19,302,699 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 14,736,482 16,074,476 4
5 Denver Int'l 12,975,235 14,876,363 6
6 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 12,602,609 14,411,715 7
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 13,282,313 13,730,353 5
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 11,269,760 12,232,223 8
9 Detroit Metro-Wayne County 10,541,126 11,336,847 9
10 Orlando Int'l 9,313,221 10,658,306 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 5: Domestic Airline Travel in September

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  Sep. 2003 Sep. 2004 Change
Passengers 44,576,369 47,794,910 7.2%
Flights 793,214 803,243 1.3%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 37,211,565 40,968,033 10.1%
Available Seat-Miles(000) 55,566,995 58,207,225 4.8%
Load factor 66.97% 70.38% 3.4 pts
Flight stage length 572 596 4.1%
Passenger trip length 835 857 2.7%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

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

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Rank Airline Name Sept. 2003 Sept. 2004 Sept. 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 5,746,988 6,128,380 1
2 Delta Air Lines 5,745,634 5,609,903 2
3 American Airlines 5,271,735 5,326,779 3
4 United Airlines 4,265,898 4,805,982 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,254,774 3,455,637 5
6 U.S. Airways 2,570,689 2,732,847 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,228,328 2,267,568 7
8 America West Airlines 1,495,731 1,625,499 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 933,656 1,228,603 10
10 SkyWest Airlines 908,686 1,190,535 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Rank Airport Name Sept. 2003 Sept. 2004 Sept. 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 2,717,758 2,657,899 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 2,233,957 2,558,465 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 1,681,424 1,990,584 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 1,443,026 1,617,954 4
5 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 1,370,317 1,566,456 6
6 Denver Int'l 1,380,021 1,553,272 5
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 1,289,461 1,417,208 7
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 1,147,233 1,244,026 8
9 Detroit Metro-Wayne County 1,092,552 1,191,297 9
10 Seattle-Tacoma Int'l 988,241 1,100,124 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market