Domestic flyers in small cities are feeling the squeeze from U.S. carriers’ consolidation as short-haul routes get cut in a trend that shows no signs of stopping.
The number of domestic passengers on U.S. airlines dropped while international passengers rose in year-over-year data for August released by the U.S. DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics today.
U.S. airlines carried a total of 66.3 million passengers. The percentage of domestic passengers was 0.2 percent less than 2011, but the percentage of international travelers rose 1.1 percent.
The distinction between domestic and international growth is due to continued industry consolidation. U.S. airlines are emphasizing their higher fare international routes while cutting back on short-haul domestic flights.
Key mergers between Delta and Northwest and United Continental affected primary domestic routes. U.S. carriers reduced domestic flights by 5.9 percent in August, but only reduced international flights by 0.1 percent.
The busiest airlines and airports this August
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has more system and domestic passengers pass through it than any other U.S. airport. More international passengers board U.S. carriers at New York JFK Airport than any other U.S. airport.
The DOT report for August 2012:
Photo credit: A Delta Connection flight operated by Atlantic Southeast AIrline takes off from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Flickr.com