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1st-Quarter 2011 Domestic Air Fares Rose 8.4% from 1st Quarter 2010

1st-Quarter 2011 Domestic Air Fares Rose 8.4% from 1st Quarter 2010

Top 100 Airports: Highest Fare at Houston Bush, Lowest Fare at Atlantic City

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BTS 38-11
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Domestic Air Fares

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Domestic Air Fares

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - Average domestic air fares rose to $356 in the first quarter of 2011, up 8.4 percent from the average fare of $328 in the first quarter of 2010 (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Houston Bush, TX, had the highest average fare, $477, while Atlantic City, NJ, had the lowest, $172 (Table 3).

First-quarter fares increased 5.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, the first increase after two quarterly declines (Table 2). Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Not inflation-adjusted, the $356 first-quarter 2011 average fares were up 2.3 percent from the previous first-quarter high of $348 in 2001. Following the economic slowdown of 2001 and 9/11, unadjusted first-quarter fares dropped, reaching as low as $301 in 2005. First-quarter 2011 fares were up 18.0 percent from the 2005 low, not adjusted for inflation (Table 6).

First-quarter 2011 fares, not adjusted for inflation, were the highest for any first quarter since 1995 and the second highest of any quarter. The post-1995 high was $359 in the third quarter of 2008. Adjusted for inflation, first-quarter 2011 fares in 1995 dollars were $241, down 20.8 percent from the first quarter of 1999, which, at $304 was the inflation-adjusted high for any first quarter since 1995 (Table 1). BTS air fare records reach back to 1995. See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

Passenger airlines collected 71.3 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during 2010 (Table 1A).

Air fares in the first quarter of 2011 increased 2.3 percent from the first quarter of 2001, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 26.8 percent during that period. In the 16 years from 1995, the first year of BTS air fare records, air fares rose 19.8 percent compared to a 47.6 percent inflation rate (Table 6). The average inflation-adjusted first-quarter 2011 fare in 1995 dollars was $241 compared to $297 in 1995 and $299 in 2001 (Table 1).

See tables below for the following information about the top 100 airports based on 2010 originating passengers.

Table 3: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the first quarter: Houston Bush had the highest average fare, $477, while Atlantic City had the lowest, $172. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 8 on the BTS website.

Table 4: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011: Madison, WI, had the largest increase, 17.5 percent, and Atlantic City had the largest decrease, 8.5 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 9 on the BTS website.

Table 5: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2011: Dallas Love, TX, had the largest increase, 44.8 percent, and White Plains, NY, had the largest decrease, 46.6 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

See the BTS Air Fare web page for average fares for the top 100 airports. Rankings can also be found on the BTS website. Updated passenger rankings for 2010 resulted in the addition of Bellingham, WA, and Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, to the top 100 list and the removal of Lubbock, TX, and Moline, IL. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports, which are not included in rankings, are available on the web page. Average fares for all airports are also available. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable.

Second-quarter 2011 average fare data will be released on Oct. 26.

Table 1: 1st Quarter Average Fares 1995-2011 Compared to Inflation Rate

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Averages do not include frequent flyer fares.

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Average Domestic 1Q Fares ($) Percent change from previous year Percent change from 1995
Average Fares (1Q to 1Q) Inflation (Mar from previous Mar)* Cumulative Average Fares (1Q 1995 to 1Q of each year) Cumulative inflation rate (Mar of each year from Mar 1995)* Average Fare in 1995 dollars
1995 297         297
1996 284 -4.4 2.8 -4.4 2.8 276
1997 283 -0.2 2.8 -4.5 5.7 268
1998 305 7.5 1.4 2.6 7.1 284
1999 332 8.9 1.7 11.7 9.0 304
2000 340 2.6 3.8 14.6 13.1 301
2001 348 2.2 2.9 17.1 16.4 299
2002 320 -8.0 1.5 7.8 18.1 271
2003 319 -0.3 3.0 7.5 21.7 262
2004 320 0.3 1.7 7.9 23.8 259
2005 301 -5.9 3.1 1.5 27.7 236
2006 323 7.3 3.4 8.9 32.0 245
2007 318 -1.7 2.8 7.1 35.6 234
2008 333 4.9 4.0 12.3 41.0 236
2009 314 -5.8 -0.4 5.7 40.5 223
2010 328 4.6 2.3 10.5 43.7 228
2011 356 8.4 2.7 19.8 47.6 241

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 1A Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2010

Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Scheduled Passenger Airline Total Revenue*

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Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Revenue* (%)
1990 87.6
1995 85.6
2000 84.1
2001 82.7
2002 82.3
2003 79.5
2004 76.6
2005 75.0
2006 74.4
2007 74.3
2008 72.9
2009 70.2
2010 71.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

* Scheduled passenger airline total revenue is the sum of the following Schedule P12 accounts with account numbers: Reservation cancellation fees (3919.1), Baggage fees (3906.2), Miscellaneous Operating Revenue (3919.2), Transport-Related Revenue (4898) and Passenger Revenue (Fares) (3901).

Table 2: Quarterly Change in Average Domestic Airline Fares

Percent Change by Quarter

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Excel | CSV

Average Domestic Fares
Avg Fare ($) Pct. Change from Previous Quarter
2Q 2009 302 -3.8
3Q 2009 307 1.7
4Q 2009 320 4.2
1Q 2010 328 2.6
2Q 2010 341 3.8
3Q 2010 340 -0.3
4Q 2010 337 -0.9
1Q 2011 356 5.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

*: Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

Table 3: Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 1st Quarter 2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Rank Origin 1st Quarter 2011 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Houston Bush, TX 477
2 Huntsville, AL 473
3 Newark-Liberty, NJ 470
4 Cincinnati, OH 466
5 Washington Dulles 465
  Average Fare at All Airports 356
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Atlantic City, NJ 172
2 Long Beach, CA 216
3 Bellingham, WA 246
4 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 266
5 Orlando, FL 267

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 4: One-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percent Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2010 2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Rank Origin 1st Quarter 2010 ($) 1st Quarter 2011 ($) Percent Change
  Largest Increases      
1 Madison, WI 365 429 17.5
2 Richmond, VA 326 378 15.8
3 Cincinnati, OH 404 466 15.2
4 Santa Ana (Orange County), CA 294 337 14.7
5 Rochester, NY 293 335 14.5
  Average Fare at All Airports 328 356 8.4
  Largest Decreases      
1 Atlantic City, NJ 188 172 -8.5
2 Greenville/Spartanburg, SC 437 407 -7.0
3 Grand Rapids, MI 406 380 -6.3
4 Huntsville, AL 500 473 -5.3
5 Hartford, CT 373 365 -2.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 5: 10-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percent Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2001-2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Rank Origin 1st Quarter 2001 ($) 1st Quarter 2011 ($) Percent Change
  Largest Increases      
1 Dallas Love, TX 189 273 44.8
2 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 185 266 44.4
3 El Paso, TX 256 356 39.0
4 Reno, NV 223 307 37.7
5 Houston Hobby, TX 219 299 36.4
Average Fare at All Airports 348 356 2.3
Largest Decreases      
1 White Plains, NY 606 323 -46.6
2 Long Beach, CA 321 216 -32.6
3 Denver, CO 452 316 -30.2
4 Bellingham, WA 352 246 -30.1
5 Charlotte, NC 545 392 -28.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 6: Percent Changes to 2011 in Domestic Average Itinerary Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(1st Quarter to 1st Quarter for fares; March to March for inflation)

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Since 1st Quarter ... Duration in Years Average 1Q Itinerary Fare ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 1st Quarter 2011 Inflation Rate to Mar 2011
2011   356    
2010 1 328 8.4 2.7
2009 2 314 13.4 5.1
2008 3 333 6.7 4.7
2007 4 318 11.9 8.8
2006 5 323 10.0 11.8
2005 6 301 18.0 15.6
2004 7 320 11.1 19.2
2003 8 319 11.4 21.3
2002 9 320 11.2 25.0
2001 10 348 2.3 26.8
2000 11 340 4.6 30.5
1999 12 332 7.2 35.4
1998 13 305 16.7 37.8
1997 14 283 25.5 39.7
1996 15 284 25.3 43.5
1995 16 297 19.8 47.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

*: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

For air fares for the following airports, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/atpi/src/index.xml.

Multiple airport areas for which a single average fare calculation is available are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Airports covered by average fare calculations are:

Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson
Arkansas: Little Rock
California: Burbank, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles Intl, Oakland, Ontario/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana ( Orange County)
Colorado: Colorado Springs, Denver
Connecticut: Hartford
District of Columbia: Dulles, Reagan National
Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Georgia: Atlanta
Idaho: Boise
Illinois: Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
Indiana: Indianapolis
Iowa: Des Moines
Kansas: Wichita
Kentucky: Louisville
Louisiana: New Orleans
Maine: Portland
Maryland: Baltimore
Massachusetts: Boston
Michigan: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids
Minnesota: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Mississippi: Jackson/Vicksburg
Missouri: Kansas City, St. Louis
Nebraska: Omaha
Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno
New Hampshire: Manchester
New Jersey: Atlantic City, Newark
New Mexico: Albuquerque
New York: Albany, Buffalo, Islip, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains
North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham
Ohio: Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Oregon: Portland
Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Rhode Island: Providence
South Carolina: Charleston, Greenville-Spartanburg
Tennessee: Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
Texas: Austin, Dallas Love, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston Bush, Houston Hobby, San Antonio
Utah: Salt Lake City
Vermont: Burlington
Virginia: Newport News/Williamsburg, Norfolk, Richmond
Washington: Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane
Wisconsin: Madison, Milwaukee