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2nd-Quarter Domestic Air Fares Rose 4.1% from 2nd Quarter 2011

2nd-Quarter Domestic Air Fares Rose 4.1% from 2nd Quarter 2011

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

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Domestic Air Fares

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Domestic Air Fares

Friday, November 2, 2012 - Average domestic air fares rose to $385 in the second quarter of 2012, up 4.1 percent from the average fare of $370 in the second quarter of 2011 (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Cincinnati had the highest average fare, $535, while Atlantic City, NJ, had the lowest, $166 (Table 3).

Not adjusted for inflation, the $385 second-quarter 2012 average fares reached an all-time high for any quarter. The previous high was $373 in the first quarter of 2012. The previous second-quarter high was $370 in 2011. Second-quarter 2012 fares were $256 in 1995 dollars, down 15.4 percent from $302 in 1999, the inflation-adjusted high for any second quarter since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995 (Tables 1 and 2).

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.

Passenger airlines collected 70.8 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the second quarter of 2012, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

Air fares in the second quarter of 2012 increased 13.5 percent from the second quarter of 2000, not adjusted for inflation, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 25.0 percent during that period. In the 17 years from 1995, air fares rose 29.7 percent compared to a 50.5 percent inflation rate (Table 6). The average inflation-adjusted second-quarter 2012 fare in 1995 dollars was $256 compared to $297 in 1995 and $300 in 2000 (Table 1). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

Unadjusted second-quarter 2012 fares were up 27.5 percent from the recession low of $302 in 2009 (Table 1).

Second-quarter fares increased 3.2 percent from the first quarter of 2012 (Table 2). Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors such as the number of passengers. In the last 18 years, U.S. airlines carried an average of 14.7 percent more originating passengers in the second quarter of the year than in the first quarter. The number of originating passengers rose by 14.0 percent in the second quarter of 2012 from the first quarter.

See Tables 3-5 for data about the top 100 airports based on 2011 originating passengers.

Table 3: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the second quarter: Cincinnati, a market with a high representation of business travelers, had the highest average fare ($535) while Atlantic City, a leisure-dominated market, had the lowest ($166). 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 2011 to the second quarter of 2012: Newport News/Williamsburg, VA, had the largest increase, 24.9 percent, and Atlantic City, had the largest decrease, 19.2 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 2001 to the second quarter of 2012: Newport News/Williamsburg had the largest increase, 63.9 percent, and White Plains, NY, had the largest decrease, 33.8 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

For additional data, see Top 100 Airports, Rankings or All Airports. 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. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Third-quarter 2012 average fare data will be released in January 2013.

Table 1: 2nd Quarter Average Fares 1995-2012 Compared to Inflation Rate

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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 43.5 242
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
2012 385 4.1 1.7 29.7 50.5 256

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 1990-2012

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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 71.0
2012 (1Q) 69.8
2012 (2Q) 70.8
2012 (thru 2Q) 70.3

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

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Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fares
Current $ Inflation-Adjusted
Avg Fare (current$) Pct. Change from Previous Quarter (%) Inflation-Adjusted Avg Fare (1995$) Pct. Change from Previous Quarter (%)
1Q 2010 328 2.6 228 1.8
2Q 2010 341 3.8 237 3.7
3Q 2010 340 -0.3 235 -0.5
4Q 2010 335 -1.5 231 -1.8
1Q 2011 356 6.3 241 4.2
2Q 2011 370 3.9 248 2.9
3Q 2011 361 -2.4 241 -2.9
4Q 2011 368 2.1 251 3.9
1Q 2012 373 1.2 246 -1.9
2Q 2012 385 3.2 256 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 2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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Rank Origin 2nd Quarter 2012 ($)
  Highest Average Fares
1 Cincinnati, OH 535
2 Houston Bush, TX 518
3 Memphis, TN 512
4 Washington Dulles 504
5 Huntsville, AL 504
Average Fare at All Airports 385
Lowest Average Fares
1 Atlantic City, NJ 166
2 Long Beach, CA 244
3 Bellingham, WA 263
4 Fort Lauderdale, FL 276
5 Las Vegas, NV 281

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 Percentage Increases and Decreases/Smallest Increases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2nd Quarter 2011 to 2nd Quarter 2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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Rank Origin 2nd Quarter 2011 ($) 2nd Quarter 2012 ($) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 353 441 24.9
2 Boise, ID 348 397 14.0
3 Ft. Myers, FL 285 323 13.4
4 Cincinnati, OH 476 535 12.4
5 Pittsburgh, PA 339 378 11.3
  Average Fare at All Airports 370 385 4.1
  Largest Decreases/Smallest Increases      
1 Atlantic City, NJ 205 166 -19.2
2 Colorado Springs, CO 414 399 -3.8
3 Little Rock, AR 406 392 -3.5
4 Atlanta, GA 376 367 -2.5
5 Oakland, CA 310 305 -1.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 5: 11-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2001-2012

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2011 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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Rank Origin 2nd Quarter 2001 ($) 2nd Quarter 2012 ($) Percent Change (%)
  Largest Increases      
1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 269 441 63.9
2 Dallas Love, TX 181 291 61.2
3 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 185 289 55.7
4 Reno, NV 224 346 54.4
5 Louisville, KY 273 417 52.9
  Average Fare at All Airports 329 385 17.1
  Largest Decreases      
1 White Plains, NY 541 358 -33.8
2 Bellingham, WA 361 263 -27.1
3 Atlantic City, NJ 224 166 -26.1
4 Long Beach, CA 316 244 -22.7
5 Denver, CO 414 326 -21.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 6: Percent Changes to 2012 in Domestic Average Itinerary Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(2nd Quarter to 2nd Quarter for fares; June to June for inflation)

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Since 2nd Quarter... Duration in Years Average 2Q Itinerary Fare ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 2nd Quarter 2012 Inflation Rate to June 2012
2012   385
2011 1 370 4.1 1.7
2010 2 341 12.9 5.3
2009 3 302 27.5 6.4
2008 4 347 10.9 4.9
2007 5 325 18.3 10.1
2006 6 342 12.7 13.1
2005 7 307 25.5 18.0
2004 8 309 24.4 21.0
2003 9 315 22.3 24.9
2002 10 318 21.0 27.6
2001 11 329 17.1 28.9
2000 12 339 13.5 33.1
1999 13 329 16.8 38.1
1998 14 301 27.9 40.8
1997 15 289 33.0 43.2
1996 16 276 39.5 46.4
1995 17 297 29.7 50.5

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