Aviation Overview

Aviation Overview

BTS collects annual data on the inventory of the aircraft fleets of U.S. large certificated air carriers. An example of one list derived from these data is Table 3-1-1: Average Age of U.S. Commercial Aircraft. BTS also collects data showing U.S. airline on-time performance over time.

U.S. airline on-time performance in 2007, as reported to BTS, dipped to the lowest level since 2000. Although annual data are currently unavailable, on-time performance improved in 2008 through October (Table 3-1-2: Major U.S. Air Carrier On-Time Performance).

Since June of 2003, BTS has collected U.S. airline delay information by cause of delay (Table 3-1-3: Airline Delays by Cause). Note that the relatively small percentage of Extreme Weather delays are due to actual or forecasted severe meteorological conditions, such as a blizzard, hurricane, or tornado—delays caused by less severe weather conditions are attributed to the National Aviation System. The late arrival of inbound aircraft from a previous flight has been the leading cause of late flights for the last 3 years.

Since 2005, airline fares have generally been rising. Airline fares in 2006 surpassed the former high of 2000-2001. Airline fares rose to an all-time high in 2008 (Table 3-1-5: Comparison of Air Travel Price Indexes).

Enplaned passengers at U.S. airports steadily grew each year from 1995 until 2001. The events of 9/11 combined with the recession of 2001 caused a drop in passengers. The data show that enplanements did not surpass the year 2000 until 4 years later in 2004. Enplanements continued to rise through 2007 (Table 3-1-4: Domestic Enplanements at U.S. Airports).