Domestic Air Fares Increased 4.7% From 1st Quarter 2009


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Domestic Air Fares Increased 4.7% From 1st Quarter 2009

By Steve Hall

July 30, 2010 - Average domestic air fares in the first quarter of 2010 increased to the second highest January-to-March level since 2001, rising 4.7 percent from the first quarter of 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares, round-trip or one-way for which no return is purchased.

Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase.


Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.

The $328 first-quarter 2010 average fares were down 8.3 percent from the all-time high, not inflation-adjusted, of $358 in the third quarter of 2008. Adjusted for inflation, first-quarter 2010 fares were down 25.0 percent from 1999, the inflation-adjusted high for any first-quarter since 1995. The first quarter 2010 average fares were up 8.9 percent from the post-9/11 fourth-quarter low of $301.39 in 2005. BTS air fare records reach back to 1995.

Air fares in the first quarter of 2010 declined 5.6 percent since the first quarter of 2001, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 23.5 percent during that period.

In the 15 years from 1995, the first year of BTS records, air fares rose 10.5 percent compared to a 43.7 percent inflation rate. In 1995 dollars, the average air fare in the first quarter of 2010 was $228, compared to $297 in 1995 and $301 in 2000.

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