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2nd-Quarter 2011 Domestic Air Fares Rose 8.5% from 2nd Quarter 2010

2nd-Quarter 2011 Domestic Air Fares Rose 8.5% from 2nd Quarter 2010

Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Memphis and Cincinnati, Lowest Fare at Atlantic City

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BTS 63-11
Dave Smallen
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Domestic Air Fares

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Domestic Air Fares

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - Average domestic air fares rose to $370 in the second quarter of 2011, up 8.5 percent from the average fare of $341 in the second quarter of 2010 (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Memphis, TN and Cincinnati had the highest average fare, $476, while Atlantic City, NJ, had the lowest, $205 (Table 3).

Second-quarter fares increased 3.9 percent from the first quarter, the second consecutive quarterly increase (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. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 $370 second-quarter 2011 average fares were up 6.5 percent from the previous second-quarter high of $347 in 2008. Unadjusted second-quarter fares dropped to a low of $302 in 2009 during the recession. Second-quarter 2011 fares were up 22.5 percent from the 2009 low, not adjusted for inflation (Table 6).

Second-quarter 2011 fares, not adjusted for inflation, were highest of any quarter. The post-1995 high was $359 in the third quarter of 2008. Adjusted for inflation, second-quarter 2011 fares in 1995 dollars were $250, down 17.4 percent from the second quarter of 1999, which, at $302, was the inflation-adjusted high for any second 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 the second quarter of 2011, the most recent quarter available (Table 1A).

Air fares in the second quarter of 2011 increased 9.0 percent from the second quarter of 2000, not adjusted for inflation, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 30.9 percent during that period. In the 16 years from 1995, the first year of BTS air fare records, air fares rose 24.6 percent compared to a 48.0 percent inflation rate (Table 6). The average inflation-adjusted second-quarter 2011 fare in 1995 dollars was $250 compared to $297 in 1995 and $300 in 2000 (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 second quarter: Memphis had the highest average fare, $476, while Atlantic City had the lowest, $205. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 8 on the BTS website.

Table 4: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011: Newport News/Williamsburg, VA, had the largest increase, 19.1 percent, and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC had the largest decrease, 14.3 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 9 on the BTS website.

Table 5: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the second quarter of 2000 to the second quarter of 2011: Dallas Love, TX, had the largest increase, 63.1 percent, and White Plains, NY, had the largest decrease, 37.6 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. 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.

Third-quarter 2011 average fare data will be released on Jan 26, 2011.

Table 1: 2nd Quarter Average Fares 1995-2011 Compared to Inflation Rate

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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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  Average Domestic 2Q Fares ($) Percent change from previous year Percent change from 1995
Average Fares (2Q to 2Q) Inflation (Jun from previous Jun)* Cumulative Average Fares (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) Cumulative inflation rate (Jun of each year from Jun 1995)* Average Fare in 1995 dollars
1995 297         297
1996 276 -7.1 2.8 -7.1 2.8 268
1997 289 5.0 2.3 -2.5 5.1 275
1998 301 4.0 1.7 1.4 6.9 282
1999 329 9.4 2.0 11.0 9.0 302
2000 339 3.0 3.7 14.3 13.0 300
2001 329 -3.1 3.2 10.7 16.7 282
2002 318 -3.3 1.1 7.1 18.0 270
2003 315 -1.1 2.1 6.0 20.5 261
2004 309 -1.6 3.3 4.3 24.4 249
2005 307 -0.9 2.5 3.3 27.5 240
2006 342 11.4 4.3 15.1 33.0 257
2007 325 -4.7 2.7 9.6 36.6 238
2008 347 6.6 5.0 16.9 43.5 241
2009 302 -13.0 -1.4 1.7 41.4 213
2010 341 12.9 1.1 14.8 42.9 238
2011 370 8.5 3.6 24.6 48.0 250

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 1A Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2011

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
2011 (1Q) 70.4
2011 (2Q) 71.3
2011 (thru June) 70.9

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. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 (%)
1Q 2009 314 -9.1
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
2Q 2011 370 3.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

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

Table 3: Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 2nd Quarter 2011

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

Fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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

Rank Origin 2nd Quarter 2011 ($)
  Highest Average Fares  
1 Memphis, TN 476
2 Cincinnati, OH 476
3 Washington Dulles 475
4 Huntsville, AL 473
5 Houston Bush, TX 473
  Average Fare at All Airports  
  Lowest Average Fares  
1 Atlantic City, NJ 205
2 Long Beach, CA 247
3 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 266
4 Bellingham, WA 267
5 Orlando, FL 280

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: 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. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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

Rank Origin 2nd Quarter 2010 ($) 2nd Quarter 2011 ($) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 296 353 19.1
2 Bellingham, WA 225 267 18.6
3 White Plains, NY 301 356 18.1
4 Harrisburg, PA 382 450 17.8
5 Milwaukee, WI 263 309 17.4
  Average Fare at All Airports 341 370 8.5
  Largest Decreases/Smallest Increase      
1 Greenville/Spartanburg, SC 440 377 -14.3
2 Charleston, SC 461 428 -7.2
3 Greensboro/High Point, NC 401 390 -2.7
4 Huntsville, AL 485 473 -2.4
5 Knoxville TN 441 444 0.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: 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. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 2nd Quarter 2000 ($) 2nd Quarter 2011 ($) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Dallas Love, TX 174 285 63.6
2 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 186 291 56.5
3 Reno, NV 224 342 53.0
4 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 236 353 49.7
5 El Paso, TX 260 380 45.7
  Average Fare at All Airports 339 370 9.0
  Largest Decreases      
1 White Plains, NY 571 356 -37.6
2 Denver, CO 442 318 -28.2
3 Long Beach, CA 327 247 -24.6
4 Greenville/Spartanburg, SC 499 377 -24.5
5 Bellingham, WA 345 267 -22.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: 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. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 2nd Quarter... Duration in Years Average 2Q Itinerary Fare ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 2nd Quarter 2011 Inflation Rate to Jun 2011
2011   370    
2010 1 341 8.5 3.6
2009 2 302 22.5 4.6
2008 3 347 6.5 3.2
2007 4 325 13.6 8.3
2006 5 342 8.2 11.2
2005 6 307 20.5 16.1
2004 7 309 19.5 19.0
2003 8 315 17.5 22.9
2002 9 318 16.3 25.5
2001 10 329 12.5 26.8
2000 11 339 9.0 30.9
1999 12 329 12.2 35.8
1998 13 301 22.8 38.5
1997 14 289 27.7 40.8
1996 15 276 34.0 44.0
1995 16 297 24.6 48.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Note: 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