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Preliminary Air Traffic Data, April 2020: 96% Reduction in U.S. Airline Passengers from 2019

Release Number: 
BTS 36-20
Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2020
 

U.S. airlines carried 96% fewer scheduled service passengers in April 2020 than in April 2019, according to preliminary data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 24 airlines that carry 99% of the passengers.

The 96% annual decline in the number of passengers from April 2019 is the largest year-to-year decrease on record, larger than the 51% decline from March 2019 to March 2020.

The large airlines carried 3.0 million passengers in April, the lowest monthly total in BTS records dating back to 1974. The previous low was 14.6 million passengers in February 1975.

Preliminary April 2020 passenger numbers (24 carriers reporting):

  • Total: 3.0 million passengers, down 96% from April 2019 (76.1M)
  • Domestic: 2.8 million passengers, down 96% from April 2019 (66.7M)
  • International: 132 thousand passengers, down 99% from April 2019 (9.4M)

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final April data will be released on July 16.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released on Oct. 16.

President Trump issued an order on Jan. 31 restricting travel to the U.S. from China.  He issued an additional order on March 11 restricting travel to the U.S. from certain European countries.

Systemwide Passengers

With the 96% decline in U.S. airlines passengers from April 2019 to April 2020 the number of passengers on U.S. airlines to the lowest monthly level on record based on records since 1974. The reductions in March and April followed 29 consecutive months of increases from the same month of the previous year, dating back to October 2017.

Year-to-Year Percent Change
2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January3.02.94.05.6
February-0.25.73.06.7
March3.44.65.1-51.3
April*4.54.83.8-96.1
May3.04.95.2
June3.45.03.7
July3.85.23.6
August5.05.03.4
September-2.35.85.7
October4.63.94.1
November4.64.50.5
December3.53.68.8
Annual3.14.74.2
Notes: 

* April 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Domestic Passengers

Domestic passengers on U.S. airlines rose year-to-year for 29 consecutive months beginning in October 2017 before the 51% decline in March and a 96% decrease in April.

Year-to-Year Percent Change
2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January3.13.23.96.2
February-0.15.93.07.4
March3.84.25.4-51.0
April*3.75.73.7-95.7
May2.75.35.2
June3.15.33.6
July3.75.83.8
August5.05.53.4
September-2.55.85.8
October4.73.84.2
November4.54.40.2
December3.73.79.5
Annual3.04.94.3
Notes: 

* April 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

International Passengers

The number of U.S. airlines international passengers fell to 132,000, a 99% decrease from April 2019 to April 2020 following a 53% decline from March 2019 to March 2020. The declines followed 22 consecutive months of increases from the same month of the previous year, dating back to May 2018.

Year-to-Year Percent Change
Year-to-Year Percent Change
2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January2.11.04.51.9
February-1.24.63.40.7
March0.47.23.4-53.3
April*9.8-1.04.6-98.6
May5.42.35.6
June5.33.44.2
July4.61.62.2
August4.92.03.9
September-1.15.94.6
October3.24.33.2
November5.44.72.2
December1.73.23.6
Annual3.53.13.8
Notes: 

* April 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 24 U.S. airlines as of June 4.

See the BTS Airlines and Airports page for additional U.S. airlines numbers through February for U.S. airlines. International data by origin and destination is available through November.

BTS has scheduled June 11 for the release of final reported data for March.

None of the data are from samples. Measures of statistical significance do not apply to the complete air traffic data.

Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020