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February Airline Traffic: Two-Month Domestic Traffic Up 0.6 Percent From 2005

February Airline Traffic: Two-Month Domestic Traffic Up 0.6 Percent From 2005

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BTS 23-06
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, May 11, 2006 - U.S. airlines carried 0.6 percent more domestic passengers and flew fewer domestic flights during the first two months of 2006 than they did during the same period in 2005, 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 (RITA), reported that the airlines carried 96.2 million domestic passengers during the first two months of 2006, up from the 95.6 million carried in January and February 2005 (Table 2). The passengers were carried on 1.52 million flights, fewer than the 1.58 million flights operated in 2005 (Table 1).

In other domestic comparisons from the first two months of 2005 to the first two months of 2006:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 2.1 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity using the number of seats and the distance flown, were down 2.8 percent.

Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 3.6 load factor points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was up 0.7 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was up 1.4 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 13.7 million domestic passengers during the first two months of 2006, the most of any airline (Table 3).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel during the first two months of 2006, with 5.5 million passenger boardings (Table 4).

February 2006 Airline Traffic

For the month of February, U.S. airlines carried 47.6 million domestic passengers, 0.6 percent more than in February 2005 (Table 5).

These passengers were carried on 748,069 flights, down 2.3 percent from the 765,917 flights operated in February 2005.

In other month-to-month domestic comparisons from February 2005 to February 2006:

Revenue passenger miles, a measure of the number of passengers and the distance flown, were up 1.7 percent.

Available seat-miles, a measure of airline capacity, were down 4.2 percent.

Passenger load factor, passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, was up 4.4 load factor points.

Flight stage length, the average non-stop distance flown per departure, was down 1.2 percent.

Passenger trip length, the average distance flown per passenger, was up 1.2
 percent.

Among airlines, Southwest Airlines carried 6.8 million domestic passengers during February, the most of any airline (Table 6).

Among airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta was the busiest U.S. airport for domestic travel in February 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.  February traffic data are preliminary and include data received by BTS from 128 airlines as of May 9. Data are subject to revision.

Revised data from January and previous months are posted on the BTS website at http://transtats.bts.gov.  BTS will release March traffic data and revised data from February and previous months on June 15.

Table 1. Domestic Airline Travel January to February

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  Jan-Feb. 2005 Jan-Feb. 2006 Change
Passengers (in millions) 95.6 96.2 0.6%
Flights (in thousands) 1.578 1.525 -3.4%
Revenue Passenger Miles(in billions) 82.3 84.1 2.1%
Available Seat-Miles(in billions) 116.5 113.2 -2.8%
Load factor 70.7 74.3 3.6 points
Flight stage length* 603 607 0.7%
Passenger trip length** 862 874 1.4%

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

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

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Month 2004 2005 2004-2005 Pct. Change 2006 2005-2006 Pct. Change
January 44.2 48.2 9.1 48.6 0.7
February 45.7 47.3 3.6 47.6 0.6
March 54.6 59.2 8.3    
April 53.7 55.2 2.8    
May 53.4 57.6 7.8    
June 57.4 60.0 4.6    
July 60.1 62.7 4.4    
August 57.8 59.4 2.8    
September 48.0 50.9 6.1    
October 54.6 54.1 -0.9    
November 52.1 53.1 1.9    
December 52.9 53.0 0.2    
Annual Total 634.5 660.8 4.1    
Jan.-Feb total 89.9 95.6 6.3 96.2 0.6

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

Table 3. Top 10 Airlines, ranked by January-February 2006 Domestic Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

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Jan.-Feb. 2006 Rank Carrier Jan.-Feb. 2006 Enplanements Jan.-Feb. 2005 Rank Jan.-Feb. 2005 Enplanements
1 Southwest 13.685 2 12.122
2 American 11.721 3 11.26
3 Delta 10.014 1 12.228
4 United 8.401 4 8.138
5 Northwest 6.285 5 6.769
6 Continental 5.294 7 4.711
7 US Airways 4.756 6 5.725
8 America West 3.002 8 3.038
9 AirTran 2.694 11 2.124
10 SkyWest 2.677 10 2.236

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

Table 4. Top 10 Airports ranked by January-February 2006 Domestic Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

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Jan.-Feb. 2006 Rank Airport Jan.-Feb. 2006 Enplanements Jan.-Feb. 2005 Rank Jan.-Feb. 2005 Enplanements
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta 5.510 1 5.755
2 Chicago O'Hare 4.559 2 4.314
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth 3.888 3 3.723
4 Denver 3.168 6 2.905
5 Las Vegas McCarran 3.155 5 2.988
6 Los Angeles Int'l 3.058 4 3.078
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor 3.037 7 2.88
8 Houston Bush Intercontinental 2.528 10 2.268
9 Orlando 2.495 8 2.531
10 Minneapolis-St.Paul 2.299 9 2.386

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

Table 5. Domestic Airline Travel in February

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  Feb. 2005 Feb. 2006 Percent Change
Passengers (in millions) 47.3 47.6 0.6%
Flights (in thousands) 766 748 -2.3%
Revenue Passenger Miles(in billions) 40.4 41.1 1.7%
Available Seat-Miles(in billions) 56.4 54 -4.2%
Load factor 71.7 76.1 4.4 points
Flight stage length* 603 596 -1.2%
Passenger trip length** 854 864 1.2%

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 6. Top 10 Airlines, ranked by February 2006 Domestic Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

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Feb. 2006 Rank Carrier Feb. 2006 Enplanements Feb. 2005 Rank Feb. 2005 Enplanements
1 Southwest 6.822 1 6.082
2 American 5.650 3 5.475
3 Delta 4.834 2 6.042
4 United 4.114 4 3.907
5 Northwest 3.129 5 3.389
6 Continental 2.585 7 2.319
7 US Airways 2.409 6 2.928
8 America West 1.432 8 1.466
9 AirTran 1.355 11 1.063
10 SkyWest 1.335 10 1.114

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

Table 7. Top 10 Airports ranked by February 2006 Domestic Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

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Feb. 2006 Rank Airport Feb. 2006 Enplanements Feb. 2005 Rank Feb. 2005 Enplanements
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta 2.696 1 2.875
2 Chicago O'Hare 2.258 2 2.145
3 Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.874 3 1.766
4 Las Vegas McCarran 1.549 5 1.450
5 Denver 1.548 7 1.403
6 Los Angeles Int'l 1.480 4 1.468
7 Phoenix Sky Harbor 1.479 6 1.415
8 Houston Bush Intercontinental 1.225 11 1.103
9 Orlando 1.214 8 1.245
10 Detroit Metro 1.145 10 1.132

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