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Fri, Jan 16, 2009

BTS: Airlines Posted Record Systemwide, Domestic Load Factors In October '08

But Overall Traffic Numbers Continue Steep Decline

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines during October 2008 declined by 7.1 percent from October 2007, dropping by 4.6 million to 59.6 million, in the 8th consecutive monthly decline from the same month of the previous year, the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Thursday.

BTS, a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, in a release of preliminary data, reported US airlines carried 7.5 percent fewer domestic passengers than in October 2007. The October domestic passenger number was the lowest October number since 2003.

For the first 10 months of 2008, the number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines declined by 2.6 percent from the same period in 2007, dropping to 630.1 million, 16.8 million fewer than a year earlier.

Overall, US carriers transported 3.3 percent fewer domestic passengers and 2.6 percent more international passengers in the first 10 months of 2008 than during the same period in 2007... reflecting systemwide domestic capacity cuts throughout the industry, and a renewed focus on more profitable international routes. 

The combined domestic and international system load factor of 80.0 percent for January through October was down 0.5 load factor points from last year's record for the 10-month period. However, both the combined domestic and international system load factor and the domestic load factor reached record levels for the month of October.

BTS notes the system load factor was 79.2 percent, up 0.5 points from the previous record in October 2007. The domestic load factor was 79.8, up 1.3 points from the previous record in October 2007. The international load factor was down 1.3 points from October 2007.

Southwest Airlines carried more total system and more domestic passengers for the first 10 months than any other US airline, while American Airlines carried more international passengers than any other US carrier.

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