BTS Releases November 2009 Airline Traffic Data; System Traffic Up 1.6 Percent from November 2008

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines in November 2009 increased by 1.6 percent from November 2008, increasing by 0.8 million to 54.9 million, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported. November was the second month in the last three to show an increase from 2008 but last year’s numbers were already reduced from 2007. The November 2009 passenger total was 11.3 percent below November 2007.

BTS, a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, in a release of preliminary data, reported a record-high November passenger load factor of 78.9 percent. Airlines reduced capacity in November from a year earlier by 3.5 percent, measured by available seat-miles, contributing to the November load factor record.

U.S. airlines carried 2.1 percent more domestic passengers than in November 2008. International passengers on U.S. carriers decreased 2.3 percent. The domestic load factor of 79.2 percent in November 2009 was the highest ever for the month of November.

For the first 11 months of 2009, the number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines declined by 5.7 percent from the same period in 2008, dropping to 647.0 million, 38.9 million fewer than a year earlier, and the lowest January-to-November total since 2004.

U.S. airlines carried 5.5 percent fewer domestic passengers and 6.8 percent fewer international passengers in the first 11 months of 2009 than during the same period in 2008.