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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

2nd-Quarter 2017 Air Fare Data

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Download Excel Tables:

The average domestic air fare, adjusted for inflation, decreased to $356 in the second quarter of 2017, down 0.9 percent from $359 in the second quarter of 2016 but up 1.2 percent from $352 in the first quarter of 2017 (Tables 1, 3), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.  

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 2nd Quarter 1995-2017

2Q Fares (current dollars) 2Q Fares (2017 $)
1995 297 477
1996 276 431
1997 289 442
1998 301 453
1999 329 485
2000 339 483
2001 329 453
2002 318 433
2003 315 419
2004 309 401
2005 307 386
2006 342 413
2007 325 383
2008 347 392
2009 302 345
2010 341 382
2011 370 401
2012 385 410
2013 378 397
2014 396 407
2015 386 397
2016 353 359
2017 356 356
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Origin and Destination Survey: DB1BTicket

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 accounted for 38 percent of fares calculated for the second quarter of 2017. The average domestic one-way air fare was $253 in the second quarter of 2017, while the average round-trip air fare was $432. 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 fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares.” Constant 2017 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares

The second quarter fare of $356 was the lowest second-quarter fare since 2009 when the fare was $345. The second-quarter 2017 fare was down 26.6 percent from the average fare of $485 in 1999, the highest inflation-adjusted second quarter average fare on record. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 25.4 percent (Table 1). See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

In recent years, airlines have obtained additional revenue from fees charged to passengers, as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 75.0 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the second quarter of 2017, down from 87.6 percent in 1995 (Table 2).

Quarter-to-Quarter Change

Average fares rose 1.2 percent from $352 in the first quarter of 2017 to the $356 in the second quarter of 2017, the third consecutive quarterly increase. Prior to that, fares declined for six consecutive quarters after reaching an inflation-adjusted recent high of $397 in the second-quarter of 2015 (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares

The $356 second-quarter 2017 average fare was up 1.0 percent from the second quarter 2016 fare of $353 and up 17.9 percent from the recession low of $302 in the second-quarter of 2009. The second quarter 2017 fare was down 10.0 percent from the fare of $396 in the second quarter of 2014, which was the highest average second quarter fare since 1995. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 19.9 percent compared to a 60.8 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 4).

Second quarter 2017 fares of $356 were up 1.2 percent, from the first-quarter 2017 fares of $352. Although second quarter 2017 average fares were down 7.8 percent from the second quarter of 2015 ($386), they were up 3.5 percent from the third quarter of 2016 ($344) following three consecutive quarterly increases (Table 5). See Air Fares for historical data.

Fares by Airport

 

Of airports grouped by the number of originating passengers in the second quarter of 2017, the 42 airports with between 100,000 and 499,999 originating passengers had the highest average fares ($382). Airports with 1.5 to 1.99 million originating passengers had the lowest average fares of any group ($335) (Table 6).

Tables listing the airports by group can be found on the BTS Air Fare web page.

For additional data, see Top 100 Airports or All Airports. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample from each airline, 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. Third Quarter 2017 average fare data will be released Jan. 16.

Note: Results for average fares are based on the BTS Origin & Destination Survey, a 10 percent sample of airline tickets used during the quarter. For results based on all itinerary fares, the standard error is 0.29. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $355.43 to $356.40. For results based on round-trip fares, the standard error is 0.36.  The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $431.66 to $432.84. For results based on one-way fares, the standard error is 0.35. The 90 percent confidence interval ranges from $252.82 to $253.98.

 

Table 1. 2nd Quarter Average Fare 1995-2017, Adjusted for Inflation, 2Q 2017

Year 2Q Average Fare in constant 2017 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%) Percent Change in Average Fare to 2nd Quarter 2017 (%)
1995 477 -25.4
1996 431 -9.7 -9.7 -17.5
1997 442 2.6 -7.4 -19.5
1998 453 2.3 -5.2 -21.4
1999 485 7.2 1.6 -26.6
2000 483 -0.3 1.3 -26.4
2001 453 -6.3 -5.1 -21.4
2002 433 -4.5 -9.3 -17.7
2003 419 -3.1 -12.2 -15.1
2004 401 -4.4 -16.0 -11.2
2005 386 -3.7 -19.1 -7.8
2006 413 7.1 -13.4 -13.9
2007 383 -7.2 -19.6 -7.2
2008 392 2.2 -17.9 -9.2
2009 345 -12.0 -27.8 3.2
2010 382 10.9 -19.9 -6.9
2011 401 4.9 -15.9 -11.3
2012 410 2.1 -14.2 -13.1
2013 397 -3.1 -16.8 -10.4
2014 407 2.6 -14.7 -12.6
2015 397 -2.4 -16.7 -10.4
2016 359 -9.6 -24.7 -0.9
2017 356 -0.9 -25.4 0.0
Notes:

Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 2. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2017, 2Q 2017

Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Operating Revenue* (%)
1990 88.5
1995 87.6
2000 88.9
2001 87.8
2002 87.1
2003 84.9
2004 80.6
2005 78.4
2006 77.6
2007 77.7
2008 75.9
2009 73.7
2010 74.8
2011 74.6
2012 74.1
2013 74.6
2014 74.8
2015 74.7
2016 74.1
2017 (1Q) 73.7
2017 (2Q) 75.0
Notes:

* From Schedule P-1.2: Passenger Revenue (Fares) (Acct 3901) as a percentage of Total Operating Revenues (4999).

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-1.2

Table 3. Inflation-Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter, 2Q 2017

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (2017$)
Average Fare in constant 2017 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2015 397 -1.7
3Q 2015 382 -3.9
4Q 2015 374 -2.0
1Q 2016 372 -0.4
2Q 2016 357 -4.0
3Q 2016* 344 -3.7
4Q 2016* 347 0.8
1Q 2017* 352 1.5
2Q 2017* 356 1.2
Notes:
Percent change based on unrounded numbers
* Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 4. Unadjusted 2nd Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2017, 2Q 2017

Year Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%) Inflation Rate from 1995 (Jun 1995 to Jun of each year)*
1995 297 N/A N/A N/A
1996 276 -7.1 -7.1 2.8
1997 289 5.0 -2.5 5.3
1998 301 4.0 1.4 6.9
1999 329 9.4 11.0 9.2
2000 339 3.0 14.3 12.8
2001 329 -3.1 10.7 16.6
2002 318 -3.3 7.1 18.2
2003 315 -1.1 6.0 20.7
2004 309 -1.6 4.3 24.1
2005 307 -0.9 3.3 27.8
2006 342 11.4 15.1 32.9
2007 325 -4.7 9.6 36.4
2008 347 6.6 16.9 42.4
2009 302 -13.0 1.7 40.8
2010 341 12.9 14.8 43.3
2011 370 8.5 24.6 48.2
2012 385 4.1 29.6 51.0
2013 378 -1.7 27.4 53.1
2014 396 4.7 33.3 56.2
2015 386 -2.5 30.0 56.2
2016 353 -8.7 18.8 57.8
2017 356 1.0 19.9 60.8
Notes:
Percent change based on unrounded numbers
* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics General Consumer Price Index
Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter, 2Q 2017

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2015 386 -0.6
3Q 2015 372 -3.7
4Q 2015 363 -2.5
1Q 2016 361 -0.4
2Q 2016 351 -2.9
3Q 2016 344 -1.9
4Q 2016 347 0.8
1Q 2017 352 1.5
2Q 2017 356 1.2
Notes:

Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0

Table 6. Fares at Airports Grouped by Originating Passengers, 2Q 2017

Airport Groups based on 2Q 2017 Originating Passengers Average Fare 2nd Quarter 2017 ($) Percent of Total Passengers
2 million+ 349 23
1.5-1.99 million 335 16
1.0-1.49 million 340 18
500-999,000 355 22
100-499,000 382 12
50-99,999 378 1
Average Fare at Top 100 Airports 351 91
Average Fare at All Airports 356 100
Notes:

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/airfares; and http://www.transtats.bts.gov/databases.asp?Mode_ID=1&Mode_Desc=Aviation&Subject_ID2=0