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May Airline Traffic: Five-Month Domestic Traffic Up 5.8 Percent From 2004

May Airline Traffic: Five-Month Domestic Traffic Up 5.8 Percent From 2004

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BTS 36-05
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, August 11, 2005 - U.S. airlines carried 5.8 percent more domestic passengers and flew 1.1 percent more domestic flights during the first five months of 2005 than they did during the same period in 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported, in a release of preliminary data (Table 1).

BTS, a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the airlines carried 266.0 million domestic passengers during the first five months of 2005, up from the 251.4 million carried between January and May 2004 (Table 2). The passengers were carried on 4.12 million flights, up 1.1 percent from the 4.07 million flights operated in 2004 (Table 1).

In other domestic comparisons from the first five months of 2004 to the first five months of 2005:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 6.0 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 1.6 percent.

Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 3.1 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was up 2.0 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was up 0.2 percent at 864 miles per trip.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 34.7 million domestic passengers during the first five months of 2005, 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 five months of 2005, with 16.2 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

May 2005 Airline Traffic

For the month of May 2005, U.S. airlines carried 57.0 million domestic passengers, 6.8 percent more than in May 2004 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 846,880 flights, up 0.5 percent from the flights operated in May 2004.

In other month-to-month domestic comparisons from May 2004 to May 2005:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 7.5 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were up 3.1 percent.

Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 3.2 percentage points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was up 3.2 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was up 0.6 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 7.8 million domestic passengers during May, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during May, with 3.5 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. May traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 124 airlines as of Aug. 5. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from April 2005 and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov. BTS will release June traffic data and revised data from May and previous months on Sept. 15.

Table 1: Domestic Airline Travel January to May

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  Jan-May 2004 Jan-May 2005 Change
Passengers 251,374,411 266,035,732 5.8%
Flights 4,072,726 4,117,979 1.1%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 216,747,669 229,761,231 6.0%
Available Seat Miles(000) 300,561,617 305,409,089 1.6%
Load Factor 72.1 75.2 3.1 points
Flight Stage Length* 598 610 2.0%
Passenger Trip Length** 862 864 0.2%

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

* The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Table 2: Total Industry Domestic Enplanements

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Month 2003 2004 2005 2004-2005 Pct. Change
January 43,342,462 44,158,283 48,145,347 9.0
February 41,465,820 45,660,443 47,222,928 3.4
March 50,387,895 54,563,819 58,976,247 8.1
April 47,364,607 53,653,708 54,712,680 2.0
May 49,413,135 53,338,158 56,978,530 6.8
June 52,541,294 57,289,410    
July 56,144,204 59,997,802    
August 54,320,946 57,726,560    
September 44,575,720 47,905,621    
October 50,347,370 54,476,730    
November 47,456,128 51,945,559    
December 50,132,111 52,770,662    
Annual Total 587,491,692 633,486,755    
Jan.-May Total 231,973,919 251,374,411 266,035,732 5.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Table 3: Top 10 Airlines, ranked by January-May 2005 Domestic Enplanements

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Jan-May 2005 Rank Carrier Jan-May 2005 Passengers Jan-May 2004 Rank Jan-May 2004 Passengers
1 Southwest Airlines 34,703,350 1 32,465,467
2 Delta Air Lines 33,466,266 2 32,184,424
3 American Airlines 31,210,267 3 29,689,393
4 United Airlines 22,038,433 4 23,525,420
5 Northwest Airlines 19,299,175 5 17,965,625
6 US Airways 16,341,843 6 15,386,714
7 Continental Airlines 13,268,889 7 12,691,915
8 America West Airlines 8,428,600 8 7,970,803
9 American Eagle Airlines 6,568,033 9 5,479,608
10 AirTran Airways 6,275,717 11 5,190,590

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

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

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Jan-May 2005 Rank Airport Name Jan-May 2005 Passengers Jan-May 2004 Rank Jan-May 2004 Passengers
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l 16,183,539 1 15,295,795
2 Chicago O'Hare Int'l 12,288,152 2 12,020,715
3 Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l 10,138,080 3 10,366,499
4 Los Angeles Int'l 8,401,254 4 8,362,910
5 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 8,329,614 5 7,846,962
6 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 8,029,128 7 7,616,962
7 Denver Int'l 7,782,427 6 7,694,805
8 Orlando Int'l 6,785,442 9 6,208,192
9 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 6,629,574 8 6,284,243
10 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County 6,349,681 10 5,930,161

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Table 5: Domestic Airline Travel in May

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  May 2004 May 2005 Change
Passengers 53,338,158 56,978,530 6.8%
Flights 842,273 846,880 0.5%
Revenue Passenger Miles(000) 45,754,428 49,179,410 7.5%
Available Seat Miles(000) 61,487,306 63,364,850 3.1%
Load Factor 74.4 77.6 3.2 points
Flight Stage Length* 594 613 3.2%
Passenger Trip Length** 858 863 0.6%

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

* The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Table 6: Top 10 Airlines, ranked by May 2005 Domestic Enplanements

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May 2005 Rank Carrier May 2005 Passengers May 2004 Rank May 2004 Passengers
1 Southwest Airlines 7,777,541 1 7,143,265
2 Delta Air Lines 6,922,107 2 6,763,930
3 American Airlines 6,692,714 3 6,081,481
4 United Airlines 4,749,422 4 5,120,358
5 Northwest Airlines 4,123,394 5 3,811,950
6 US Airways 3,406,145 6 3,191,354
7 Continental Airlines 2,789,924 7 2,601,105
8 America West Airlines 1,840,492 8 1,675,911
9 American Eagle Airlines 1,493,965 9 1,200,075
10 AirTran Airways 1,435,806 11 1,099,590

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Table 7: Top 10 Airports ranked by May 2005 Domestic Enplanements

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May 2005 Rank Airport Name May 2005 Passengers May 2004 Rank May 2004 Passengers
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l 3,499,573 1 3,252,283
2 Chicago O'Hare Int'l 2,695,763 2 2,595,254
3 Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l 2,182,896 3 2,209,049
4 Las Vegas McCarran Int'l 1,822,254 5 1,682,580
5 Los Angeles Int'l 1,798,958 4 1,781,538
6 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int'l 1,708,990 7 1,567,722
7 Denver Int'l 1,669,443 6 1,625,841
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l 1,379,416 8 1,287,400
9 Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County 1,371,585 10 1,260,826
10 Orlando Int'l 1,361,360 9 1,267,959

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market