Air Transport Association Reports Decline in Passenger Demand, Cargo Traffic




Air Transport Association Reports Decline in Passenger Demand, Cargo Traffic

H1N1 Exacerbates Recessionary Toll on Air Travel Demand

By Dana Murphy



WASHINGTON, June 23, 2009, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today reported that passenger revenue [1] fell 26 percent in May 2009 versus the same month in 2008 – the seventh consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year. The number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines [1] in May fell 9.5 percent while the average price to fly one mile fell 17.6 percent.

Revenue declines extended beyond the mainland United States to the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and Latin markets. May results also reflect the impact of the H1N1 (swine) influenza outbreak.Compounding the softening demand for passenger travel, U.S. airlines [2] saw cargo traffic as measured by revenue ton miles decline 22 percent year over year in April 2009, marking the ninth consecutive month of declining cargo traffic.


Notably, cargo traffic in the Pacific region fell 26 percent. May 2009 cargo data is not yet available. “In May, the H1N1 influenza outbreak compounded an already weak demand situation, negatively impacting industry cash flow and forcing a closer look at current levels of flying,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 30,000 flights in 77 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.

[1] Based on data reported to ATA by Alaska, American, Continental (incl. Micronesia), Delta (incl. NWA), JetBlue, United and US Airways; also includes data for Air Midwest, Air Wisconsin, Allegheny, American Eagle, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Southeast, Chautauqua, Comair, Continental Express, Executive, Freedom, Horizon, Mesa, Mesaba, MidAtlantic, Piedmont, Pinnacle, PSA, Shuttle America, SkyWest and Trans States.

[2] Based on data reported to ATA by Aloha, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta (incl. NWA), FedEx, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Midwest, Southwest, United, UPS and US Airways.

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