WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2010 – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today reported that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers, rose 1.4 percent in January versus the same month in 2009, reversing 14 consecutive months of declines.
Approximately 0.4 percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines in January, while the average price to fly one mile rose 0.6 percent – the first such increase since November of 2008. Growth was strongest on trans-Atlantic routes, where passenger revenue rose 3.4 percent.
U.S. airlines saw cargo traffic, as measured in cargo revenue ton miles, rise 17 percent year over year (12 percent domestically and 23 percent internationally) in December 2009, driven primarily by increased international trade. January 2010 cargo data is not yet available.
For the full year 2009, cargo traffic declined 11 percent compared to 2008. The decline in cargo traffic from 2008 to 2009 was the largest on record, eclipsing the decline observed from 2000 to 2001.
“The modest uptick in passenger revenue and the solid increase in cargo volumes are promising signs that air-transport demand may be at the beginning of a long-awaited recovery,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 26,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo.