3rd-Quarter 2013 U.S. Domestic Air Fare Up 5.1% from 3rd Quarter 2012

2014-01-29
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  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics The average domestic air fare increased to $390 in the third quarter of 2013, up 5.1 percent from the average fare of $371 in the third quarter of 2012, measured in constant 2013 dollars (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. During that July to September period, Huntsville, Ala., had the highest average fare, $559, while Atlantic City, N.J., had the lowest, $157

    Top 100 Airports: Highest Fares at Huntsville, Lowest Fares at Atlantic City

    Domestic Air Fares

    Graph - 3rd-Quarter 2013 U.S. Domestic Air Fares

    BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips were 32 percent of fares calculated for the third quarter of 2013. 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 either the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares,” or abnormally high reported fares.

    The third-quarter 2013 fare was down 14.0 percent in constant 2013 dollars from the average fare of $453 in 2000, which was the highest of any third quarter, adjusted for inflation, in the 18 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995 (Table 2).  The 14.0 percent decline took place while there was an increase in overall consumer prices of 34.8 percent. In the 18 years since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 11.2 percent compared to a 52.8 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 2). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

    U.S. passenger airlines collected 71.5 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2013, down from 1990 when 87.6 percent of airline revenue was received from fares (Table 1A).

    Quarter-to-Quarter Change

    In the three-year period from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares decreased 1.9 percent. In the two-year period from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2013, inflation-adjusted fares increased 8.4 percent (Table 3).

    Air Fares in Unadjusted Dollars

    Not adjusting for inflation, the $390 third-quarter 2013 average fare was the highest average fare for any third quarter since 1995. The previous highest unadjusted third quarter fare was $367 in 2012 (Table 4).

    Unadjusted third-quarter 2013 fares were up 3.4 percent from the second quarter of 2013 (Table 5). See Tables 13-16 for additional unadjusted fare data by airport.

    Fares by Airport

    Tables 6-8 provide fare data on the top 100 airports based on 2012 originating passengers. All figures are reported in 2013 dollars.

    Table 6: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the third quarter: Huntsville had the highest average fare ($559) while Atlantic City had the lowest ($157). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

    Table 7: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in constant 2013 dollars from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013: Atlanta, Ga., had the largest increase (22.6 percent) and Bellingham, Wash., had the largest decrease (16.4 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 11 on the BTS website.

    Table 8: Five largest increases and five largest decreases in constant 2013 dollars from the third quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2013: Newport News/Williamsburg, Va., had the largest increase (41.9 percent) and Bellingham had the largest decrease (59.3 percent). For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 12 on the BTS website.

    For additional data, see Top 100 AirportsRankings  or All Airports. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Fourth-quarter 2013 average fare data will be released on April 22.

     

    Table 1. 3rd Quarter Average Fare 1995-2013, Adjusted for Inflation

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

     Average Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($)Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q to 3Q) (%)Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year) (%)
    1995 439    
    1996 400 -9.0 -9.0
    1997 410 2.5 -6.7
    1998 451 10.0 2.7
    1999 442 -2.0 0.7
    2000 454 2.6 3.3
    2001 398 -12.3 -9.4
    2002 392 -1.4 -10.7
    2003 395 0.7 -10.1
    2004 366 -7.4 -16.8
    2005 360 -1.5 -18.0
    2006 381 5.7 -13.3
    2007 368 -3.4 -16.3
    2008 384 4.4 -12.6
    2009 333 -13.4 -24.3
    2010 364 9.4 -17.1
    2011 372 2.2 -15.3
    2012 371 -0.2 -15.5
    2013 390 5.1 -11.2

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

     

    Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2013

    YearRevenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Revenue* (%)
    1990 87.6
    1995 85.6
    2000 84.1
    2001 82.7
    2002 82.3
    2003 79.5
    2004 76.6
    2005 75.0
    2006 74.4
    2007 74.3
    2008 72.9
    2009 70.2
    2010 71.3
    2011 71.0
    2012 70.3
    2013 (1Q) 70.2
    2013 (2Q) 70.8
    2013 (3Q) 71.5
    2013 (thru 3Q) 70.9

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

    * Scheduled passenger airline total revenue is the sum of the following Schedule P12 accounts with account numbers: Reservation cancellation fees (3919.1), Baggage fees (3906.2), Miscellaneous Operating Revenue (3919.2), Transport-Related Revenue (4898) and Passenger Revenue (Fares) (3901).

     

    Table 2. Percent Changes to 2013 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

    (3rd Quarter to 3rd Quarter for fares; Sept to Sept for inflation)

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    Since 3rd Quarter of ...Duration in YearsAverage Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($)Percent Change in Average Fare to 3rd Quarter 2013 (%)Inflation Rate Change to Sep 2013
    2013   390    
    2012 1 371 5.1 1.2
    2011 2 372 4.9 3.2
    2010 3 364 7.2 7.2
    2009 4 333 17.3 8.4
    2008 5 384 1.6 7.0
    2007 6 368 6.1 12.3
    2006 7 381 2.5 15.4
    2005 8 360 8.4 17.8
    2004 9 366 6.8 23.3
    2003 10 395 -1.1 26.4
    2002 11 392 -0.5 29.4
    2001 12 398 -1.9 31.3
    2000 13 454 -14.0 34.8
    1999 14 442 -11.7 39.5
    1998 15 451 -13.5 43.1
    1997 16 410 -4.8 45.3
    1996 17 400 -2.4 48.4
    1995 18 439 -11.2 52.8

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

     

    Table 3. Inflation-Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

    Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    Quarter/YearAverage Domestic Fare (2013$)
    Average Fare in constant 2013 dollars ($)Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
    3Q 2010 398 -12.3
    4Q 2010 392 -1.4
    1Q 2011 395 0.7
    2Q 2011 366 -7.4
    3Q 2011 360 -1.5
    4Q 2011 381 5.7
    1Q 2012 368 -3.4
    2Q 2012 384 4.4
    3Q 2012 333 -13.4
    4Q 2012* 364 9.4
    1Q 2013* 372 2.2
    2Q 2013* 371 -0.2
    3Q 2013* 390 5.1

    SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

    * Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

     

    Table 4. Unadjusted 3rd Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2013

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

     Average Fare in current dollars ($)Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q to 3Q) (%)Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year) (%)
    1995 288    
    1996 269 -6.3 -6.3
    1997 282 4.7 -1.8
    1998 315 11.7 9.6
    1999 317 0.6 10.3
    2000 337 6.1 17.1
    2001 303 -10.0 5.4
    2002 303 0.1 5.5
    2003 312 3.0 8.7
    2004 297 -5.1 3.1
    2005 306 3.2 6.4
    2006 330 7.9 14.8
    2007 328 -0.8 13.9
    2008 359 9.6 24.8
    2009 307 -14.5 6.8
    2010 340 10.7 18.2
    2011 361 6.2 25.5
    2012 367 1.8 27.7
    2013 390 6.3 35.8

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

     

    Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

    Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    Quarter/YearAverage Domestic Fare (current$)
    Average Fare in current dollars ($)Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
    3Q 2010 340 -0.3
    4Q 2010 335 -1.5
    1Q 2011 356 6.3
    2Q 2011 370 3.9
    3Q 2011 361 -2.4
    4Q 2011 368 2.1
    1Q 2012 373 1.2
    2Q 2012 385 3.2
    3Q 2012 367 -4.6
    4Q 2012 374 1.9
    1Q 2013 379 1.2
    2Q 2013 378 -0.3
    3Q 2013 390 3.4

    SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

     

    Table 6. Airports with Highest and Lowest U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fares 3rd Quarter 2013

    Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2013 ($)
      Highest Average Fares  
    1 Huntsville, AL 559
    2 Cincinnati, OH 531
    3 Houston Bush, TX 507
    4 Washington Dulles 506
    5 Newark-Liberty, NJ 491
      Average Fare at All Airports 390
      Lowest Average Fares  
    1 Atlantic City, NJ 157
    2 Bellingham, WA 208
    3 Long Beach, CA 250
    4 Las Vegas, NV 265
    5 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 289

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

     

    Table 7. One-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Airport Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 3Q 2012 to 3Q 2013

    Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2012 (2013$)3rd Quarter 2013 (2013$)Percent Change (%)
      Largest Increases      
    1 Atlanta, GA 352 432 22.6
    2 Colorado Springs, CO 385 464 20.4
    3 Atlantic City, NJ 135 157 16.5
    4 White Plains, NY 330 382 15.8
    5 Ft. Myers, FL 301 347 15.1
      Average Fare at All Airports 371 390 5.1
      Largest Decreases      
    1 Bellingham, WA 249 208 -16.4
    2 Charleston, SC 433 398 -8.1
    3 Providence, RI 360 336 -6.7
    4 Burlington, VT 437 414 -5.2
    5 Manchester, NH 366 354 -3.2

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

     

    Table 8. 13-Year Change by Airport: Top 5 Percentage Increases and Decreases in U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Fare, 2000-2013

    Top 100 Airports* Based on 2012 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers, Fares Adjusted for Inflation

    Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. 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 paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

    RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2000 (2013$)3rd Quarter 2013 (2013$)Percent Change (%)
      Largest Increases      
    1 Newport News/Williamsburg, VA 314 445 41.9
    2 Houston Hobby, TX 296 359 21.3
    3 Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA 255 297 16.3
    4 Dallas Love, TX 259 300 15.8
    5 Reno, NV 313 361 15.1
      Average Fare at All Airports 454 390 -14.0
      Largest Decreases      
    1 Bellingham, WA 511 208 -59.3
    2 White Plains, NY 749 382 -49.0
    3 Denver, CO 587 335 -42.9
    4 Long Beach, CA 426 250 -41.4
    5 Atlantic City, NJ 254 157 -38.2

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

    Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

     

    For air fares for the following airports, go to http://apps.bts.gov/xml/atpi/src/index.xml

    Multiple airport areas for which a single average fare calculation is available are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

    Airports covered by average fare calculations are:

    Alabama Birmingham, Huntsville

    Arizona Phoenix, Tucson

    Arkansas Little Rock

    California Burbank, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles Intl, Oakland, Ontario/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana (Orange County)

    Colorado Colorado Springs, Denver

    Connecticut Hartford

    District of Columbia Dulles, Reagan National

    Florida Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tampa, West Palm Beach

    Georgia Atlanta, Savannah

    Idaho Boise

    Illinois Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare

    Indiana Indianapolis

    Iowa Des Moines

    Kansas Wichita

    Kentucky Lexington, Louisville

    Louisiana New Orleans

    Maine Portland

    Maryland Baltimore

    Massachusetts Boston

    Michigan Detroit, Grand Rapids

    Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul

    Mississippi Jackson/Vicksburg

    Missouri Kansas City, St. Louis

    Nebraska Omaha

    Nevada Las Vegas, Reno

    New Hampshire Manchester

    New Jersey Atlantic City, Newark

    New Mexico Albuquerque

    New York Albany, Buffalo, Islip, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains  

    North Carolina Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham

    Ohio Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton

    Oklahoma Oklahoma City, Tulsa

    Oregon Portland

    Pennsylvania Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

    Rhode Island Providence

    South Carolina Charleston, Greenville-Spartanburg

    Tennessee Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville

    Texas Austin, Dallas Love, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston Bush, Houston Hobby, San Antonio

    Utah Salt Lake City

    Vermont Burlington

    Virginia Norfolk, Richmond

    Washington Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane

    Wisconsin Madison, Milwaukee



    Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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