Department of Transportation Reports December 2012 Airline System Passengers Down 0.3% from December 2011

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines carried 58.9 million scheduled systemwide passengers in December 2012, 0.3 percent fewer than in December 2011. The systemwide decrease was the result of a 0.7 percent decrease in the number of domestic passengers (51.2 million) and a 2.3 percent increase in international passengers (7.7 million) (Tables 1, 2, 7, 13).

Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International), January 2008-December 2012

http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/bts_13_13_chart.jpeg

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

BTS, a part of the Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that U.S. airlines carried 0.8 percent more total system passengers during the full year 2012 (736.6 million) than during 2011 (Table 2). Domestically, U.S. airlines carried 642.2 million passengers, up 0.6 percent from 2011 (Table 8). Internationally, they carried 94.4 million passengers, up 2.0 percent from 2011 (Table 14). See Tables 2, 8 and 14 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous-year data.

Additional traffic data can be found on the BTS Airlines and Airports page. Click on a link in the Quick Links box on the right. For more historical data, see Traffic on the BTS website.

Load Factor and Capacity

Domestic and systemwide load factors reached record levels for the month of December. The domestic load factor in December 2012 (81.5) increased from December 2011 (81.2) as a result of the year-to-year decrease in capacity, measured in available seat-miles (0.3 percent) combined with a growth in revenue passenger-miles (RPMs) (0.3 percent) (Table 7). Systemwide capacity also decreased 0.3 percent compared to a 0.6 percent increase in RPMs with the load factor increasing from December 2011 by 0.7 percentage points to 81.5 percent (Table 1). International load factor in December 2012 (81.0) remained below the level of December 2009 (81.4) despite capacity reductions and RPM growth from December 2011 (Table 13). See Tables 1, 7 and 13 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous-year data.

Top Airlines

Monthly: In December 2012, Southwest carried more system and domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline (Tables 4, 10). United Airlines, following its merger with Continental Airlines, carried the most international passengers (Table 16). The top 10 U.S. airlines in terms of passengers carried 80.3 percent of systemwide passengers, up from 75.4 percent carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 in December 2011.

Annual: For the third consecutive year, Delta carried more total system passengers in 2012 than any other airline. Southwest carried more domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline for the ninth consecutive year and the newly-merged United carried the most international passengers (Tables 3, 9, 15). The top 10 US airlines carried 80.0 percent of systemwide passengers, an increase from the 75.5 percent carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 during 2011.

Southwest and AirTran Airways are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of their financial reports. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they remain operating as separate economic entities.

United and Continental began reporting jointly as United in January 2012. Numbers reported as United in this release for previous years do not include Continental's numbers.

ExpressJet Airlines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines began reporting jointly as ExpressJet in January 2012. Numbers reported as ExpressJet in this release for previous years do not include Atlantic Southeast's numbers.

Top Airports

Monthly: In December, more total system and domestic passengers boarded planes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 6 and 12); and more international passengers boarded U.S. carriers at Miami than at any other U.S. airport (Table 18).

Year-to-date: During 2012, more total system and domestic passengers boarded planes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 5 and 11); and more international passengers boarded U.S. carriers at Miami than at any other U.S. airport (Table 17).

For year-to-date and monthly airline and airport statistics, Tables 1 through 6 provide combined domestic and international travel statistics, Tables 7 through 12 provide domestic travel statistics, and Tables 13 through 18 provide international travel statistics.

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 79 carriers as of March 14 for U.S. carrier scheduled civilian operations. Go to http://www.transtats.bts.gov/releaseinfo.asp for the complete list of reporting and non-reporting carriers. U.S. carriers' foreign point-to-point flights are included in system and international totals. To create a customized table for passengers, flights, RPMs, ASMs and other data, including non-scheduled service, go to http://apps.bts.gov/xml/air_traffic/src/index.xml#CustomizeTable

Traffic numbers are available on the BTS website at TranStats, the Intermodal Transportation Database, at http://transtats.bts.gov. Click on "Aviation." For 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.

TranStats system and international totals do not include U.S. carriers' foreign point-to-point flights. For December, U.S. carriers reported 205,480 foreign point-to-point passengers. For January through December, U.S. carriers reported 2,376,467 foreign point-to-point passengers.

Data are subject to revision. BTS has scheduled April 23 for the release of January 2013 traffic data.

Tables omitted, click here (http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts013_13) to view

Contact: Dave Smallen, 202/366-5568

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