U.S. Airline Industry Performance

2017 Traffic Data for U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines U.S. Flights

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 965.0 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2017, 3.4 percent more than the previous record high of 933.1 million reached in 2016. 

 The systemwide increase was the result of a 3.0 percent rise from 2016 in the number of passengers on domestic flights (741.6 million passengers in 2017) and 4.8 percent growth from 2016 in passengers on U.S. and foreign airlines’ flights to and from the U.S. (223.4 million passengers in 2017) (Tables 1, 1A, 5).

Annual Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airline Flights (Domestic & International) and Foreign Airline Flights to and from the United States, 2003-2017 Passengers in millionsGraph - Annual Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airline Flights (Domestic & International) and Foreign Airline Flights to and from the United States, 2003-2017 Passengers in millionsSource: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market (All Carriers)

U.S. airlines carried 3.0 percent more passengers on domestic flights and 3.5 percent more passengers on international flights in 2017 than in 2016 for a systemwide increase of 3.1 percent. Foreign airlines carried 6.1 percent more passengers to and from the United States than in 2016. The 223.4 million passengers on international flights to and from the United States was a record high, exceeding the previous high set in 2016 (Tables 1A, 1B, 5).

This annual release includes preliminary data on U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service, including from one foreign point to another foreign point, and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. BTS regular monthly air traffic releases include data on U.S. carrier scheduled service only. For U.S. domestic service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.

Airlines with Most Passengers in 2017 

Southwest Airlines carried more total system passengers in 2017 than any other U.S. airline. American Airlines carried more passengers on international flights to and from the U.S. in 2017 than any other U.S. or foreign carrier. British Airways carried the most passengers on flights to and from the U.S. of any foreign airline (Tables 3 and 7).

U.S. Airports with Most Passengers in 2017

More total system passengers boarded planes in 2017 at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport. More passengers boarded international flights at New York John F. Kennedy than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 4 and 8).

Load Factor and Capacity

From 2016 to 2017, systemwide demand, measured in Revenue Passenger-Miles, (RPMs and capacity, measured in Available Seat-Miles (ASMs), both grew by 4.4 percent. As a result, load factor, which measures the use of capacity, was virtually unchanged (Table 1). 

Demand on international flights, measured in RPMs, rose 5.2 percent, slightly more than the growth of 5.1 percent in capacity measured in ASMs. The result was a rise of 0.1 points in the international load factor to 80.6 from 80.5 in 2016 (Table 5).

For annual airline and airport statistics, Tables 1 through 4 provide combined domestic and international travel statistics, and Tables 5 through 8 provide international travel statistics.

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. and foreign air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 215 carriers as of March 13 for U.S. and foreign carrier scheduled civilian operations.

Go to the complete list of reporting and non-reporting carriers. Figure 1 numbers begin with 2003, the first full year of data following a reporting change that went into effect in October 2002. 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 https://www.transtats.bts.gov/TRAFFIC/. To create a customized table for U.S. carrier passengers, flights, RPMs, ASMs and other data, including non-scheduled service, go to BTS Air Carrier Traffic Statistics.

For additional scheduled service numbers for U.S. and foreign airlines, by airline and by airport, see Passengers, Flights, Revenue Passenger-Miles, Available Seat-Miles and Load Factor.

Traffic numbers are available on the BTS website at TranStats. Click on “Aviation.” For systemwide 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, click on “Aviation,” then 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.

International totals and results for foreign carriers may differ from the press release until the next database update scheduled for April 12. Also, the T-100 web tables do not include U.S. carrier foreign point-to-point operations. For 2017, U.S. carriers reported 634,555 foreign point-to-point passengers. Complete international data for the full year 2017 will be released on June 14.

None of the data are from samples so measures of statistical significance do not apply. Data in this press release are not seasonally adjusted.

Table 1. Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

       
 Monthly  Annual  
  Dec 2016 Dec 2017 Pct. Change 2016 2017 Pct. Change
Passengers (in millions) 77.3 79.7 3.2 933.1 965.0 3.4
Flights (in thousands) 795.0 797.5 0.3 9,726.5 9,755.8 0.3
Revenue Passenger-Miles (in billions) 114.4 117.6 2.9 1,374.7 1,435.8 4.4
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 139.4 144.0 3.3 1,667.8 1,741.1 4.4
Load Factor* 82.0 81.7 -0.3 82.4 82.5 0.0
Flight Stage Length** 983.4 1,001.6 1.8 963.8 984.4 2.1
Passenger Trip Length*** 1,480.5 1,476.0 -0.3 1,473.3 1,487.9 1.0

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.** Change in load factor points***The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles**** The average distance flown per passenger in milesPercentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market and Segment

Table 1A. Annual Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights 2016-2017 Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

     
  20162017Change %
U.S. Carrier  Domestic 720.0 741.6 3.0
  International 104.0 107.7 3.5
  System 824.0 849.3 3.1
Foreign Carrier To and From U.S.  109.1 115.7 6.1
Total    933.1 965.0 3.4

Export Table DataSource: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Table 1B. 2017 Passengers on U.S. and Foreign Airlines by Origin and Destination Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

      
  Destination   
    Domestic   Foreign  
Origin Domestic Domestic carriers 741.6 Domestic carriers 53.5
    Foreign Carriers N/A Foreign Carriers 57.6
  Foreign Domestic carriers 53.5 Domestic carriers 0.6
    Foreign Carriers 58.2 Foreign Carriers* N/A

Export Table DataNotes: 

* Foreign carriers do not report to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics on flights without a U.S. origin or destination

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market (All Carriers)

Table 2. Monthly Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights* Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

      
 2015201620172015-2016 Pct. Change2016-2017 Pct. Change
January 65.3 69.1 71.7 5.8 3.7
February 60.6 65.6 65.8 8.3 0.3
March 76.0 79.1 81.9 4.0 3.6
April 73.8 75.6 79.9 2.4 5.6
May 77.5 80.7 83.4 4.2 3.3
June 80.1 84.3 87.5 5.2 3.8
July 85.5 87.7 91.1 2.6 4.0
August 82.8 84.3 88.7 1.8 5.3
September 72.2 75.9 74.6 5.1 -1.6
October 77.2 78.7 82.3 2.0 4.5
November 72.1 75.0 78.4 4.0 4.6
December 74.9 77.3 79.7 3.2 3.2
Yr. Total 897.9 933.1 965.0 3.9 3.4

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Table 3. Airlines Ranked by U.S.-Based 2017 Scheduled Domestic and International Enplanements* Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

      
2017 RankCarrier2017 Enplaned Passengers2016 Rank2016 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2016-2017
1 Southwest 157.677 1 151.740 3.9
2 Delta 145.647 3 143.076 1.8
3 American 144.864 2 144.191 0.5
4 United 107.243 4 100.119 7.1
5 JetBlue 40.015 5 38.241 4.6
6 SkyWest 35.776 6 31.203 14.7
7 Alaska 26.067 7 24.371 7.0
8 Spirit 23.813 9 20.998 13.4
9 Republic 16.932 12 12.575 34.6
10 Frontier 16.800 10 14.773 13.7

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Table 4. U.S. Airports ranked by 2017 Scheduled Domestic and International Enplanements on U.S. and Foreign Airlines* Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

      
2017 RankAirport2017 Enplaned Passengers2016 Rank2016 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2016-2017
1 Atlanta 50.223 1 50.481 -0.5
2 Los Angeles 41.196 2 39.606 4.0
3 Chicago O'Hare 38.509 3 37.497 2.7
4 Dallas/Fort Worth 31.794 4 31.260 1.7
5 Denver 29.787 6 28.243 5.5
6 New York JFK 29.463 5 29.146 1.1
7 San Francisco 26.885 7 25.698 4.6
8 Las Vegas 23.150 8 22.616 2.4
9 Seattle 22.599 9 21.848 3.4
10 Charlotte 21.994 10 21.496 2.3

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Table 5. International Travel on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights*

       
 Monthly  Annual  
  Dec 2016 Dec 2017 Pct. Change 2016 2017 Pct. Change
Passengers (in millions) 18.1 18.5 2.1 213.1 223.4 4.8
Flights (in thousands) 132.7 133.6 0.7 1,541.0 1,582.6 2.7
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions) 59.5 60.7 1.9 714.3 751.6 5.2
Available Seat-Miles (in billions) 73.6 75.8 2.9 886.9 932.1 5.1
Load Factor* 80.8 80.1 -0.7 80.5 80.6 0.1
Flight Stage Length** 2,303.7 2,344.9 1.8 2,369.7 2,400.0 1.3
Passenger Trip Length*** 3,291.2 3,285.3 -0.2 3,351.2 3,364.2 0.4

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.* Change in load factor points** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in milesPercentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding. Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market and Segment

Table 6. Monthly International Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights* Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

      
 2015201620172015-2016 Pct. Change2016-2017 Pct. Change
January 15.6 16.6 17.5 6.5 5.7
February 13.4 14.5 14.8 8.2 1.6
March 16.5 17.5 18.0 6.3 2.7
April 16.1 16.7 18.8 3.6 12.3
May 17.2 18.0 18.9 4.4 5.3
June 18.3 19.5 20.7 6.5 6.3
July 20.3 21.5 22.6 6.0 4.8
August 20.0 20.8 22.1 3.6 6.3
September 16.2 17.3 17.5 6.4 1.3
October 16.3 17.0 17.7 4.3 3.9
November 15.0 15.7 16.5 5.1 5.1
December 17.0 18.1 18.5 6.5 2.1
Yr. Total 201.9 213.1 223.4 5.6 4.8

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

Table 7. Airlines Ranked by 2017 International Scheduled Enplanements to and from the U.S.* Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

      
2017 RankCarrier2017 Enplaned Passengers2016 Rank2016 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2016-2017
1 American 28,392.1 1 27,565.0 3.0
2 United 26,808.3 2 26,338.9 1.8
3 Delta 24,911.9 3 24,078.4 3.5
4 JetBlue 7,621.0 5 7,018.4 8.6
5 British Air 7,072.6 4 7,161.3 -1.2
6 Lufthansa  5,920.8 6 5,695.1 4.0
7 WestJet 5,036.1 7 4,580.5 9.9
8 Air Canada 4,908.8 8 4,317.0 13.7
9 Southwest 3,868.2 14 2,919.8 32.5
10 Air France 3,767.4 10 3,508.3 7.4

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release.Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

Table 8. U.S. Airports Ranked by 2017 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Carriers and on Foreign Carriers' U.S. Flights * dPassenger numbers in thousands (000)

2017 RankAirport2017 Enplaned Passengers2016 Rank2016 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2016-2017
2017 RankAirport2017 Enplaned Passengers2016 Rank2016 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2016-2017
1 New York JFK 16,031.9 1 15,644.0 2.5
2 Los Angeles 12,053.7 2 11,097.1 8.6
3 Miami 10,146.3 3 9,949.2 2.0
4 San Francisco 6,448.1 4 6,022.3 7.1
5 Chicago O'Hare 6,372.6 5 5,919.6 7.7
6 Newark 6,256.4 6 5,915.3 5.8
7 Atlanta 5,872.0 7 5,576.2 5.3
8 Houston Bush 5,048.8 8 5,267.1 -4.1
9 Dallas/Fort Worth 4,064.6 9 3,885.4 4.6
10 Washington Dulles 3,743.2 10 3,581.9 4.5

Export Table DataNotes: * Includes U.S. carrier scheduled domestic and international service and foreign carrier scheduled international service to and from the United States. For U.S. carrier domestic and international service data for 2017, see the BTS December Air Traffic press release. Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market



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