Transport Airlines

U.S. Passenger Traffic In 2013 Highest Since Start of the Recession


Mar 20, 2014 8:30 am

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International traffic, whether by U.S. domestic carriers or foreign airlines flying into and out of the U.S., was the biggest gainer in the annual BTS passenger roundup.

— Dennis Schaal

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Jonathan Alcorn  / Reuters

Passengers walk through Los Angeles International Airport November 22, 2013. Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

Domestic and foreign airlines serving the U.S. carried 826 million passengers systemwide in 2013, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and that’s the highest total since the start of the recession, which officially kicked off in December 2007.

In 2007, the passenger volume stood at 838.2 million, 1.47% higher than the 2013 mark. That means passenger traffic still hasn’t eclipsed pre-recession levels, but it is heading that way.

And, the 826 million passengers transported in 2013 represented a 1.3% gain when compared with 2012.

U.S. domestic airlines, whether flying domestic or international routes, accounted for nearly 90% of the passenger volume, and U.S. airlines’ traffic rose less than 1%.

The largest spike in the passengers numbers were for foreign carriers transporting passengers to and from the U.S., up 4.9%, and U.S. airlines flying internationally, a 3.3% jump.

Passengers on U.S. and Foreign Carriers’ U.S. Flights

2013 2012 Percentage Change
U.S. Carriers Domestic 645.6 642.3 0.5
International 97.5 94.4 3.3
System 743.1 736.7 0.9
Foreign Carriers 82.9 79 4.9
Total 826 815.7 1.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

For the fourth consecutive year, Delta carried more passengers (120.38 million enplanements) than any other U.S. airline. United transported more international passengers (24.99 million enplanements) to and from the U.S. than any other domestic or foreign airline for the second year in a row.

As was true a year earlier, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2013 ranked first in enplaned passengers at 45.27 million among U.S. airports.

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