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Corrected 2016 Traffic Data for U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines U.S. Flights

Press Release Number: 
BTS 17-17
Date: 
Monday, March 27, 2017
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Note: This press release replaces BTS 17-17 issued on March 27. This version includes several foreign carrier reports that were not included in the previous version due to a processing error. International totals and foreign carrier numbers have been corrected throughout. U.S. carrier numbers have not changed from the previous version.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 932.0 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2016, 3.8 percent more than the previous record high of 897.9  million reached in 2015. The systemwide increase was the result of a 3.3 percent rise from 2015 in the number of passengers on domestic flights (719.0 million in 2016) and 5.5 percent growth from 2015 in passengers on U.S. and foreign airlines’ flights to and from the U.S. (213.0 million in 2016) (Tables 1, 1A, 5).

Annual Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airline Flights  (Domestic & International) and Foreign Airline Flights to and from the United States, 2003-2016

Table Version | Excel

Annual Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airline Flights  (Domestic & International) and Foreign Airline Flights to and from the United States, 2003-2016

SOURCE for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions

U.S. airlines carried 3.3 percent more passengers on domestic flights and 1.7 percent more passengers on international flights in 2016 than in 2015 for a systemwide increase of 3.1 percent. Foreign airlines carried 9.4 percent more passengers to and from the United States than in 2015. The 213.0 million passengers on international flights to and from the United States was a record high, exceeding the previous high set in 2015 (Tables 1A, 1B, 5).

This annual release includes preliminary data on U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service, including from one foreign point to another foreign point, and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. BTS regular monthly air traffic releases include data on U.S. carrier scheduled service only. For U.S. domestic service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.

Airlines with Most Passengers in 2016
Southwest Airlines carried more total system passengers in 2016 than any other U.S. airline. American Airlines carried more passengers on international flights to and from the U.S. in 2016 than any other U.S. or foreign carrier. British Airways carried the most passengers on flights to and from the U.S. of any foreign airline (Tables 3 and 7).

U.S. Airports with Most Passengers in 2016
More total system passengers boarded planes in 2016 at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport. More passengers boarded international flights at New York John F. Kennedy than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 4 and 8).

Load Factor and Capacity
From 2015 to 2016, systemwide demand, measured in Revenue Passenger-Miles, (RPMs), grew by 5.7 percent while capacity, measured in Available Seat-Miles (ASMs), grew by 6.0 percent. As a result, load factor, which measures the use of capacity, fell by 0.2 percent (Table 1). 

Demand on international flights, measured in RPMs, rose slightly less than the growth in capacity measured in ASMs. The result was a decline in the international load factor to 80.5 from 80.6 in 2015 (Table 5).

For annual airline and airport statistics, Tables 1 through 4 provide combined domestic and international travel statistics, and Tables 5 through 8 provide international travel statistics.

Reporting Notes
Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. and foreign air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 207 carriers as of March 13 for U.S. and foreign carrier scheduled civilian operations. See the complete list of reporting and non-reporting carriers. Figure 1 numbers begin with 2003, the first full year of data following a reporting change that went into effect in October 2002.

For additional passenger, flight, Revenue Passenger-Miles, Available Seat-Miles, load factor and freight numbers, go to the Airlines and Airports page and use the Quick Links. International totals and results for foreign carriers may differ from the press release until the next database update scheduled for April 13. Also, the web tables do not include U.S. carrier foreign point-to-point operations. For 2016, U.S. carriers reported 1,144,651 foreign point-to-point passengers.

To create a customized table for U.S. carrier passengers, flights, RPMs, ASMs and other data, including non-scheduled service, go to BTS Air Carrier Traffic Statistics.

Additional traffic numbers are available on the BTS website at TranStats. Click on “Aviation.”  For U.S. carrier system passengers, RPMs and ASMs by carrier through December, click on “Air Carrier Summary Data (Form 41 and 298C Summary Data),” and then click on “Schedule T-1.” Use crosstabs to find scheduled service.

For domestic numbers through December and international numbers through September by origin as well as by carrier, after clicking on “Aviation,” click on “Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic).”  Click on “T-100 Market” for system passenger numbers, “T-100 Domestic Market” for domestic or “T-100 International Market” for international. For flights, stage length and trip length, use the appropriate T-100 Segment database. Use crosstabs to find scheduled service. Complete international data for the full year 2015 will be released on June 15.

TranStats T-100 system and international totals do not include U.S. carriers’ foreign point-to-point flights. None of the data are from samples so measures of statistical significance do not apply. Data in this press release are not seasonally adjusted.

 

Table 1. Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Scheduled service

  Annual
2015 2016 Change %
Passengers (in millions) 897.9 932.0 3.8
Flights (in thousands) 9,544.7 9,718.3 1.8
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions) 1,300.4 1,374.3 5.7
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 1,573.0 1,667.1 6.0
Load Factor* 82.7 82.4 -0.2
Flight Stage Length** 944.9 964.2 2.0
Passenger Trip Length*** 1,448.3 1,474.6 1.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market and Segment

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

* Change in load factor points

** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 1A. Annual Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights 2015-2016

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

    2015 2016 Change %
U.S. Carrier Domestic 696.0 719.0 3.3
  International 102.2 103.9 1.7
  System 798.2 823.0 3.1
Foreign Carrier To and From U.S. 99.7 109.0 9.4
Total   897.9 932.0 3.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

 

Table 1B. 2016 Passengers on U.S. and Foreign Airlines by Origin and Destination

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

    Destination
Domestic Foreign
Origin Domestic Domestic carriers 719.0 Domestic carriers 51.5
Foreign Carriers N/A Foreign Carriers 54.6
Foreign Domestic carriers 51.5 Domestic carriers 1.1
Foreign Carriers 55.5 Foreign Carriers* N/A

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market (All Carriers)

* Foreign carriers do not report to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics on flights without a U.S. origin or destination

 

Table 2. Monthly Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Scheduled passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  2014 2015 2014-2015 Pct. Change 2016 2015-2016 Pct. Change
January 62.8 65.3 4.0 69.1 5.7
February 58.2 60.6 4.2 65.6 8.3
March 73.5 76.0 3.4 79.1 4.0
April 70.9 73.8 4.2 75.6 2.4
May 74.3 77.5 4.3 80.7 4.2
June 76.7 80.1 4.5 84.3 5.2
July 80.7 85.5 5.9 87.7 2.6
August 78.6 82.8 5.4 84.2 1.8
September 67.6 72.2 6.7 75.9 5.1
October 72.2 77.2 6.9 78.7 2.0
November 66.4 72.1 8.5 75.0 4.0
December 71.4 74.8 4.8 76.2 1.8
Yr. Total 853.3 897.9 5.2 932.0 3.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts015_16

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 3. Top 10 Airlines Ranked by 2016 Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

2016 Rank Carrier 2016 Enplaned Passengers 2015 Rank 2015 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2015-2016
1 Southwest 151.740 1 144.575 5.0
2 American** 144.191 3 118.293 21.9
3 Delta 143.076 2 138.591 3.2
4 United 100.119 4 95.327 5.0
5 JetBlue 38.241 5 35.074 9.0
6 SkyWest 31.205 6 30.078 3.7
7 Alaska 24.371 9 22.828 6.8
8 ExpressJet 22.185 8 26.003 -14.7
9 Spirit 20.998 10 17.629 19.1
10 Frontier 14.773 12 12.569 17.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2014, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

** American Airlines 2015 passenger number includes 28.256 million passengers reported as US Airways from Jan-Jun 2015.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 4. Top 10 U.S. Airports, Ranked by 2016 Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

2016 Rank Airport 2016 Enplaned Passengers 2015 Rank 2015 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2015-2016
1 Atlanta 50.455 1 49.320 2.3
2 Los Angeles 39.597 2 36.438 8.7
3 Chicago O'Hare 37.404 3 36.247 3.2
4 Dallas/Fort Worth 31.251 4 31.569 -1.0
5 New York JFK 29.112 5 27.915 4.3
6 Denver 28.222 6 26.251 7.5
7 San Francisco 25.697 7 24.226 6.1
8 Las Vegas 22.609 9 21.640 4.5
9 Seattle 21.842 13 20.126 8.5
10 Charlotte 21.439 8 21.895 -2.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5. International Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Scheduled service

  Annual
2015 2016 Change %
Passengers (in millions) 201.9 213.0 5.5
Flights (in thousands) 1,483.6 1,538.9 3.7
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions) 669.3 713.8 6.7
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 830.4 886.4 6.7
Load Factor* 80.6 80.5 -0.1
Flight Stage Length** 2,333.6 2,370.9 1.6
Passenger Trip Length*** 3,315.2 3,352.1 1.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market and Segment

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2016, see the https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

* Change in load factor points

** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 6. Monthly International Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Scheduled passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

  2014 2015 2014-2015 Pct. Change 2016 2015-2016 Pct. Change
January 14.9 15.6 4.8 16.6 6.5
February 12.6 13.4 6.3 14.5 8.1
March 15.8 16.5 4.3 17.5 6.2
April 15.6 16.1 3.3 16.7 3.5
May 16.4 17.2 4.9 18.0 4.4
June 17.4 18.3 5.0 19.5 6.5
July 18.9 20.3 7.4 21.5 5.9
August 18.8 20.0 6.4 20.8 3.6
September 15.1 16.2 7.3 17.2 6.4
October 15.1 16.3 7.9 17.0 4.3
November 13.8 14.9 8.0 15.7 5.0
December 15.9 17.0 6.5 18.0 5.9
Yr. Total 190.5 201.9 6.0 213.0 5.5

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

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 7. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by 2016 International Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

2016 Rank Carrier 2016 Enplaned Passengers 2015 Rank 2015 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2015-2016
1 American** 27,565.0 2 25,013.0 10.2
2 United 26,338.9 1 26,147.9 0.7
3 Delta 24,078.4 3 23,687.3 1.7
4 British 7,161.3 4 7,068.3 1.3
5 JetBlue 7,018.4 5 6,266.3 12.0
6 Lufthansa 5,695.1 6 5,529.8 3.0
7 WestJet 4,580.5 7 4,340.5 5.5
8 Air Canada 4,317.0 8 3,856.8 11.9
9 Virgin Atlantic 3,621.8 9 3,589.1 0.9
10 Air France 3,508.3 10 3,574.3 -1.8

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

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

** American Airlines 2015 international passenger number includes 3,478.9 thousand passengers reported as US Airways from Jan-Jun 2015.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 8. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by 2016 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

2016 Rank Airport 2016 Enplaned Passengers 2015 Rank 2015 Enplaned Passengers Pct. Change 2015-2016
1 New York JFK 15,618.2 1 14,778.3 5.7
2 Los Angeles 11,088.3 3 9,883.7 12.2
3 Miami 9,921.0 2 10,113.4 -1.9
4 San Francisco 6,021.0 6 5,442.5 10.6
5 Newark 5,914.4 4 5,794.2 2.1
6 Chicago O'Hare 5,910.9 5 5,710.6 3.5
7 Atlanta 5,576.2 7 5,411.1 3.1
8 Houston Bush 5,266.2 8 5,142.8 2.4
9 Dallas/Fort Worth 3,885.4 9 3,765.9 3.2
10 Washington Dulles 3,581.9 10 3,484.8 2.8

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

* Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2016, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release: https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/2016-annual-and-december-us-airline-traffic...

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.