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October Airline Traffic: Ten-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.7 Percent From 2003

October Airline Traffic: Ten-Month Domestic Traffic Up 7.7 Percent From 2003

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BTS 04-05
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, January 13, 2005 - U.S. airlines carried 7.7 percent more domestic passengers and flew 4.1 percent more domestic flights during the first 10 months of 2004 than they did during the same period in 2003, 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 527.5 million domestic passengers during the first 10 months of 2004, up from the 489.9 million carried between January and October 2003 (Table 2). The passengers were carried on 8.3 million flights, up 4.1 percent from the 8.0 million flights operated in 2003 (Table 1).

In other domestic comparisons from the first 10 months of 2003 to the first 10 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 1.8 points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 4.2 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 2.6 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 67.9 million domestic passengers during the first 10 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 10 months of 2004, with 31.4 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

October 2004 Airline Traffic

In October 2004, U.S. airlines carried 53.4 million domestic passengers, 6.0 percent more than in October 2003 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 807,788 flights, down 2.6 percent from the flights operated in October 2003. Several air carriers with about 90,000 monthly departures have yet to report October data. These carriers' reports would have little effect on October passengers, seats and miles.

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

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 9.3 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 5.2 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 2.8 points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 6.6 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 3.1 percent.

The number of domestic airline passengers rose 11.0 percent in October from September (Table 2). Month-to-month comparisons may be affected by seasonal factors.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 6.9 million domestic passengers during October, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during October, with 3.2 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. October traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 97 airlines as of Jan. 11. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from September 2004 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release November traffic data on Feb. 10.

Table 1: Domestic Airline Travel January to October

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  Jan-Oct 2003 Jan-Oct 2004 Change
Passengers 489,902,499 527,479,187 7.7%
Flights 7,988,549 8,312,918 4.1%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 414,686,066 458,316,685 10.5%
Available Seat-Miles(000) 568,047,097 612,663,007 7.9%
Load Factor 73.0 74.8 1.8 Pct. Pts
Flight Stage Length 575 599 4.2%
Passenger Trip Length 846 869 2.6%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 2: 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 53,610,906
May 49,412,315 53,321,011
June 52,539,413 57,242,810
July 56,148,081 60,074,910
August 54,319,794 57,538,518
September 44,576,369 48,077,772
October 50,350,562 53,372,440
November 47,455,309  
December 50,126,721  
Jan-Oct Total 489,902,499 527,479,187

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Jan-Oct 2004 Rank Airline Name Jan-Oct 2003 Passengers Jan-Oct 2004 Passengers Jan-Oct 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 62,636,005 67,854,148 2
2 Delta Air Lines 65,048,547 66,232,032 1
3 American Airlines 60,855,868 60,704,637 3
4 United Airlines 47,173,833 50,692,556 4
5 Northwest Airlines 36,193,384 38,343,765 5
6 U. S. Airways 31,085,588 31,555,223 6
7 Continental Airlines 25,687,464 26,202,750 7
8 America West Airlines 16,117,723 16,819,838 8
9 Alaska Airlines 10,906,109 11,939,251 9
10 American Eagle Airlines 9,610,192 11,893,071 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Jan-Oct 2004 Rank Airport Name Jan-Oct 2003 Passengers Jan-Oct 2004 Passengers Jan-Oct 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 29,775,275 31,377,040 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 23,763,734 26,062,548 2
3 Dallas-Ft.Worth Int'l 18,930,964 21,480,632 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 16,300,007 17,825,107 4
5 Denver Int'l 14,451,638 16,526,120 6
6 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 14,107,940 16,191,349 7
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 14,692,503 15,469,512 5
8 Minneapolis-St.Paul Int'l 12,529,843 13,588,797 8
9 Detroit Metro-Wayne County 11,788,735 12,670,011 9
10 Orlando Int'l 10,359,026 11,800,772 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 5: Domestic Airline Travel in October

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  OCT 2003 OCT 2004 Change
Passengers 50,350,562 53,372,440 6.0%
Flights 829,648 807,788 -2.6%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 41,943,712 45,829,487 9.3%
Available Seat-Miles(000) 58,655,479 61,692,624 5.2%
Load Factor 71.5 74.3 2.8 Pct. Pts
Flight Stage Length 579 617 6.6%
Passenger Trip Length 833 859 3.1%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

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

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Oct 2004 Rank Airline Name Oct 2003 Oct 2004 Oct 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 6,280,808 6,899,590 2
2 Delta Air Lines 6,675,188 6,738,373 1
3 American Airlines 6,004,427 6,041,460 3
4 United Airlines 4,688,073 5,102,099 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,648,275 3,890,541 5
6 U.S. Airways 3,226,481 3,351,645 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,530,875 2,654,994 7
8 America West Airlines 1,609,313 1,750,382 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 1,046,048 1,327,824 9
10 Skywest Airlines 989,330 1,208,791 13

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Oct 2004 Rank Airline Name Oct 2003 Oct 2004 Oct 2003 Rank
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 3,160,821 3,229,036 1
2 O'Hare Int'l 2,481,609 2,762,870 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 1,945,653 2,173,745 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 1,563,525 1,742,868 4
5 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 1,505,331 1,722,383 5
6 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 1,410,190 1,586,252 7
7 Denver Int'l 1,476,403 1,581,310 6
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 1,260,083 1,353,700 8
9 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County 1,247,609 1,317,527 9
10 Bush Intercontinental (Houston) 1,121,626 1,198,119 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market