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2004 Domestic Airline Traffic Data: Domestic Traffic Up 7.2 Percent From 2003

2004 Domestic Airline Traffic Data: Domestic Traffic Up 7.2 Percent From 2003

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BTS 12-05
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, March 10, 2005 - U.S. airlines carried 7.2 percent more domestic passengers and flew 3.3 percent more domestic flights during 2004 than they did during 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today, in a release of preliminary data (Table 1).

BTS, a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the airlines carried 629.7 million domestic passengers during 2004, up from the 587.5 million in 2003 (Table 2). These passengers were carried on 9.9 million flights, up 3.3 percent from the 9.6 million flights operated in 2003 (Table 1).

In other domestic comparisons from 2003 to 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 7.3 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 1.8 percentage points.

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

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 2.5 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 81.1 million domestic passengers during 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 2004, with 37.7 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

December 2004 Airline Traffic

In December 2004, U.S. airlines carried 51.2 million domestic passengers, 2.2 percent more than in December 2003 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 779,680 flights, down 3.2 percent from the flights operated in December 2003.

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

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 4.1 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 3.7 percent.

Load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold and used, was up 0.3 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance, was up 5.6 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance passengers travel, was up 1.8 percent.

The number of domestic airline passengers declined 0.5 percent in December from November (Table 2). Month-to-month comparisons may be affected by seasonal factors.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 6.6 million domestic passengers during December, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during December, 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 "Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic)," then "T-100 Domestic Market."

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. December traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 116 airlines as of March 7. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from November 2004 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release January 2005 traffic data on April 14.

Table 1: Domestic Airline Travel 2003-2004

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  2003 2004 Change
Passengers 587,484,502 629,739,062 7.2%
Flights 9,570,152 9,886,851 3.3%
Revenue Passenger Miles (000) 497,637,126 546,868,385 9.9%
Available Seat-Miles (000) 684,000,834 733,826,781 7.3%
Load Factor 72.75% 74.52% 1.77 points
Flight Stage Length 578 602 4.1%
Passenger Trip Length 847 868 2.5%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

Table 2: Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2003 2004
January 43,340,153 44,115,683
February 41,464,612 45,614,657
March 50,387,301 54,512,292
April 47,363,867 53,610,915
May 49,412,315 53,294,016
June 52,539,413 57,242,839
July 56,148,091 59,907,777
August 54,319,794 57,347,302
September 44,576,369 47,898,697
October 50,350,557 53,458,145
November 47,455,309 51,495,382
December 50,126,721 51,241,357
Annual Total 587,484,502 629,739,062

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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2004 Rank Airline Name 2003 2004 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 74,768,258 81,121,296 2
2 Delta Air Lines 77,792,560 79,373,578 1
3 American Airlines 72,202,834 72,647,682 3
4 United Airlines 56,307,542 60,080,792 4
5 Northwest Airlines 43,310,361 45,959,204 5
6 US Airways 37,302,321 37,810,424 6
7 Continental Airlines 30,853,319 31,528,695 7
8 America West Airlines 19,187,175 20,150,587 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 11,683,797 14,354,643 10
10 Alaska Airlines 13,081,832 14,305,190 9

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 4: Top 10 Airports ranked by 2004 Domestic Enplanements

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2004 Rank Airport Name 2003 2004 2003 Rank
1 Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 35,798,481 37,696,583 1
2 Chicago O'Hare Int'l 28,545,917 30,886,156 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 22,989,790 25,690,824 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 19,549,160 21,291,982 4
5 Denver Int'l 17,317,493 19,645,890 6
6 Las Vegas Mc Carran Int'l 16,813,321 19,261,706 7
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 17,557,864 18,419,308 5
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 14,969,766 16,191,327 8
9 Detroit Metro-Wayne County 14,191,397 15,187,573 9
10 Orlando Int'l 12,494,726 14,226,845 11

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

Table 5: Domestic Airline Travel in December

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  2003 2004 Change
Passengers 50,126,721 51,241,357 2.2%
Flights 805,633 779,680 (3.2%)
Revenue Passenger Miles (000) 43,166,635 44,934,687 4.1%
Available Seat-Miles (000) 59,525,995 61,702,634 3.7%
Load Factor 72.52% 72.82% 0.31
Flight Stage Length 599 632 5.6%
Passenger Trip Length 861 877 1.8%

Source: T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

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

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Dec. 2004 Rank Airline Name Dec. 2003 Dec. 2004 Dec. 2003 Rank
1 Southwest Airlines 6,119,147 6,628,179 2
2 Delta Air Lines 6,503,916 6,596,761 1
3 American Airlines 5,897,565 6,122,148 3
4 United Airlines 4,742,188 4,783,477 4
5 Northwest Airlines 3,723,150 3,843,788 5
6 US Airways 3,128,235 3,081,361 6
7 Continental Airlines 2,672,575 2,692,307 7
8 America West Airlines 1,569,945 1,675,469 8
9 American Eagle Airlines 1,059,268 1,245,386 10
10 Alaska Airlines 1,133,722 1,219,036 9

Source: T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Dec. 2004 Rank Airline Name Dec. 2003 Dec. 2004 Dec. 2003 Rank
1 Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l 3,083,370 3,214,846 1
2 Chicago O'Hare Int'l 2,463,192 2,381,645 2
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth Int'l 2,114,364 2,115,220 3
4 Los Angeles Int'l 1,690,899 1,763,980 4
5 Denver Int'l 1,526,955 1,617,839 5
6 Las Vegas Mc Carran Int'l 1,311,890 1,471,082 7
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 1,459,321 1,416,245 6
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 1,291,067 1,339,288 8
9 Detroit Metro-Wayne County 1,252,696 1,266,774 9
10 Houston Bush Intercontinental Int'l 1,201,869 1,253,510 10

Source: T-100 Domestic Market