American Airlines claims the largest piece of the pie in the U.S. but low-cost carriers like Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit all showed strong growth in passenger numbers in 2015 as these types of carriers continue their resurgence around the world.
U.S. and foreign carriers flew more than 895 million passengers through U.S. airports in 2015, a record high, and American Airlines carried the most passengers, owing this bump to its merger with US Airways.
The record is also the biggest year-over-year increase (about five percent) in the number of passengers since the recession began in 2009.
American, which completed its merger with US Airways last year, carried the most domestic and foreign passengers in the U.S. last year compared to any other airline, 146.5 million and 28.4 million, respectively, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data released this week. American knocked Southwest Airlines out of the top spot, with the latter carrying the second highest number of passengers last year (144.5 million). American saw a 66.9 percent increase year-over-year in its number of passengers, attributed to its US Airways merger, and Spirit Airlines had the second highest percent increase (26.1 percent).
For foreign carriers, British Airways remained the foreign carrier with the most international traffic from the U.S., carrying just more than seven million passengers from U.S. airports, only a one percent increase over 2014.
Of the 895.5 million domestic and U.S. passengers flying through the U.S. last year, some 798.4 million were domestic and international travelers flying on U.S. carriers and 97.4 million flew on foreign carriers. That’s a 4.7 percent and 7.4 percent year-over-year increase in the number of domestic and international travelers flying through the U.S. on American and foreign carriers, respectively.
July remained the busiest month for U.S. air travel with 85.4 million passengers flying during that month, a 5.9 percent increase over July 2014. November, however, had the largest year-over-year increase (7.6 percent) with 71.4 million U.S. and international travelers flying that month.
Passengers on All Scheduled U.S.-Based Flights, Domestic and International, 2003-2015
** American Airlines 2015 passenger number includes 28.256 million passengers reported as US Airways from January-June 2015.
*** Southwest’s numbers include AirTran.
** American Airlines 2015 international passenger number includes 3.4 million passengers reported as US Airways from January-June 2015.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
Photo credit: American Airlines carried the most domestic and international travelers in 2015 compared to any other U.S. or foreign carrier. American Airlines