Airline Traffic Data

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Preliminary Estimated Full Year 2019 and December 2019 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

Release Number: 
BTS 02-20

NOTE: The information below is estimated and has been superseded with actual data on March 19, 2020 in BTS release 14-20 at www.bts.gov/newsroom/final-full-year-2019-traffic-data-us-airlines-and-foreign-airlines-us-flights


Date: Friday, January 17, 2020
 
 
 
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) estimates that U.S. airlines carried more passengers in 2019 than in any previous year. For the full year 2019, January through December, U.S. airlines carried 925.5 million passengers, the highest total based on comparable records since 2003. The annual number has reached a new high for five consecutive years. The 2019 estimated passenger total is up 4.1% from 2018, up 9.0% from 2017 and up 12.3% from 2016. Numbers are unadjusted with 2019 consisting of 10 months reported data and two months estimated.
Passengers in millions, unadjusted (000,000)
U.S. Airline Jan-Dec Passengers
2003647
2004704
2005739
2006745
2007770
2008743
2009704
2010720
2011731
2012737
2013743
2014763
2015798
2016824
2017849
2018889
2019 (est)926

Month of December

U.S. airlines carried an estimated 78.2 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in December 2019, reaching a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high, according to the BTS first estimate, up 0.4% from the November second estimate. The November estimate was revised down from last month’s release.

BTS estimated 68.6 million domestic passengers and 9.7 million international passengers on U.S. airlines flights in December. The domestic passenger number was a seasonally-adjusted all-time high.

Passengers in millions (Seasonally Adjusted)
Passengers in millions (Seasonally Adjusted)
Dec-1669.7
Jan-1770.0
Feb-1769.8
Mar-1770.0
Apr-1770.5
May-1770.7
Jun-1770.5
Jul-1771.2
Aug-1771.2
Sep-1769.2
Oct-1772.0
Nov-1772.3
Dec-1772.3
Jan-1872.2
Feb-1873.3
Mar-1873.4
Apr-1874.0
May-1873.9
Jun-1874.7
Jul-1874.8
Aug-1874.6
Sep-1873.4
Oct-1875.0
Nov-1874.9
Dec-1875.4
Jan-1974.5
Feb-1975.3
Mar-1977.7
Apr-1976.7
May-1977.4
Jun-1977.8
Jul-1977.9
Aug-1977.7
Sep-1977.2
Oct-1977.7
Nov-1977.9
Dec-1978.2
Notes: 

Most recent two months estimated

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for summary data since 2016 (Tables 1-24) and complete data since 2000.

This release is a statistical estimate based on U.S. airlines reported data through October. BTS will release a second estimate of U.S. airlines December air traffic on Feb. 13, followed by a release of the reported data on March 12.

Four measures of U.S. airlines passenger enplanements

Estimated December seasonally-adjusted

  • System-wide enplanements (78.2M) reached a new all-time, seasonally-adjusted, high based on the estimate compared to reported data through October and estimate for November.
  • Domestic enplanements (68.6M) reached a new all-time, seasonally-adjusted, high based on the estimate compared to reported data through October and estimate for November.
  • International enplanements (9.68M) were down 0.7% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted, reported high of 9.75 million reached in June 2019.

Reported October seasonally-adjusted

  • System-wide enplanements (77.7M) were down 0.3% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted, reported high of 77.9 million reached in July 2019.
  • Domestic enplanements (68.1M) were down 0.4% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted, reported high of 68.3 million reached in July 2019.
  • International enplanements (9.64M) were down 1.2% from the all-time, seasonally-adjusted, reported high of 9.75 million reached in June 2019.

Estimated December unadjusted

  • Systemwide enplanements (78.4M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of December.
  • Domestic enplanements (68.9M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of December.
  • International enplanements (9.56M) reached a new estimated all-time high for the month of December.

Reported October unadjusted

  • Systemwide enplanements (78.6M) reached a new reported all-time high for the month of October.
  • Domestic enplanements (69.9M) reached a new reported all-time high for the month of October.
  • International enplanements (8.69M) reached a new reported all-time high for the month of October.
Seasonally AdjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to
Previous MonthPrevious YearThree Years Previous
December estimate78.20.4%3.8%12.3%
October reported77.70.6%3.7%12.3%
UnadjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to
Previous YearTwo Years PreviousThree Years Previous
December estimate78.47.6%11.5%15.4%
October reported78.64.1%8.1%13.1%

For the November and December estimates and for data filed through October, see accompanying tables. For the complete database of reported data, see Traffic. For an explanation of BTS’ seasonal adjustment methodology, see Seasonal Adjustment.

BTS Estimates

For seasonally-adjusted passenger numbers, BTS first estimates have averaged within 0.8% of reported data while second estimates have averaged within 0.6% of reported data.

For unadjusted passenger numbers, BTS first estimates have averaged within 1.0% of reported data while second estimates have averaged within 0.7% of reported data.

For an explanation of BTS’ estimate methodology see Air Traffic Methodology.

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 73 U.S. carriers as of Jan. 7 for U.S. carrier scheduled civilian operations.

See the BTS Airlines and Airports page for additional scheduled service numbers through October for U.S. airlines. International data by origin and destination is available through July.

BTS has scheduled Feb. 13 for the release of the first estimate of January air traffic data, the second estimate of December air traffic data and reported data through November.

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

Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2020