Airlines for America Projects Increase in Summer Travel as Record Number of
Customers Fly Internationally
Airfares Remain a Bargain and U.S. Airlines’ Financial Performance Improves,
Enabling Airlines to Reinvest in Service Despite Impact of High Fuel Costs
Industry Advocates for National Airline Policy to Benefit Customers through
Lower Taxes, Reduced Air Traffic Control Delays
WASHINGTON -- May 16, 2013
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading
U.S. airlines, at its annual forecast today, reported more people will fly
this summer than a year ago, and a record number of passengers will fly
internationally. A4A said it expects U.S. airlines will carry close to 209
million passengers globally from June through August, an increase of 1 percent
from the same period in 2012. The system-wide summer estimate includes 27
million international passengers, a record number for U.S. airlines.
This marks the largest summer volume for U.S. airlines since 2008, when more
than 210 million traveled. The all-time high was summer 2007, when more than
217 million people took to the skies on U.S. airlines. A4A further noted that
the busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between the
middle of June and the first week of August.
A4A attributed the uptick to rising household net worth and corporate profits,
strong airline operational performance and recent relief in energy prices.
While A4A does not forecast airfares, data just released by the U.S. Bureau of
Transportation Statistics (BTS) demonstrates that airfares remain a bargain,
with the average inflation-adjusted domestic airfare (including taxes) down
0.2 percent to $374 in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the average
fare of $375 in the fourth quarter of 2011. BTS further reported that since
1995 inflation-adjusted domestic airfares have declined 13.1 percent compared
with a 49.6 percent increase in overall consumer prices.
“As we enter the peak summer travel season, Airlines for America expects U.S.
airlines to see modest year-over-year growth in both domestic and
international travel, including an all-time high for passengers traveling
internationally,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich.
“It’s a great time to fly as airfares remain a bargain and airlines are
delivering strong on-time performance.”
A4A encourages customers traveling this summer to visit A4A’s Travel Tips
before they fly.
Overall financial performance improves from first quarter 2012
The 10 publicly traded U.S. passenger airlines* reporting first-quarter 2013
results saw an improvement from first-quarter 2012 results, narrowing their
combined loss to $552 million from $1.7 billion in the year-ago quarter. This
translates to a -1.6 net margin or a loss of $3.30 for every passenger
enplaned. Heimlich noted this is a significant improvement from first quarter
2012, when these same 10 carriers reported a - 5.1 percent net margin.
* Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit,
United and US Airways
“This quarter reflected a marked recovery over last year’s results and speaks
directly to the significant steps airlines are taking to ensure the viability
and growth of the industry for customers, employees and the U.S. economy,”
Heimlich said. “A return to profitability enables airlines to reinvest in
customer service and operational efficiency, including improved airport
facilities, expanded in-flight offerings and enhanced baggage systems.”
Combined operating revenues for the 10 airlines were $34.3 billion, up 2.5
percent. As noted in each airline’s first-quarter financial report, operating
costs remained an ongoing challenge. For the first quarter, the 10 airlines
spent nearly $12 billion on fuel alone. Jet fuel remains the airline
industry’s single largest expense, costing the airlines $50 billion in 2012
for the second consecutive year despite their using half a billion fewer
gallons than in 2011.
“The U.S. airlines delivered a solid quarter for operational performance
overall, despite responding to numerous weather events,” said Dan Elwell,
A4A’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Operations. “Customers
continue to benefit from the proactive and collaborative approach the airlines
are taking to prepare for and minimize travel disruptions. Airlines and their
employees remain focused on providing the safest mode of transportation in the
world and continuing to advocate for and improve service, efficiency and
reliability for travelers.”
Customers continue to be impacted by excessive taxes, regulations and
inefficient and costly government actions, including last month’s FAA-imposed
furloughs and resulting delays when an estimated 600,000 airline customers
were disrupted by 7,200 sequestration-related flight delays. These delays
underscore why U.S. air travelers and airlines need aNational Airline
Policythat supports common sense changes that would enable U.S. airlines
tocontinue to drive the nation’seconomic growth, create more high-paying
U.S. jobs and improve the travel experience.
To learn more about the National Airline Policy, interested parties can follow
the National Airline Policy campaign on Facebook at
facebook.com/nationalairlinepolicy and Twitter at twitter.com/natl_air_policy.
They can also sign the petition at http://nationalairlinepolicy.com/.
View the full report at http://www.slideshare.net/a4amediarelations.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S.
economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. A4A airline members and
their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger
and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit
www.airlines.org and follow us on Twitter @airlinesdotorg.
Airlines for America (A4A)
Managing Director, Airline Industry Public Relations and Communications
Managing Director, Corporate and Member Communications
Managing Director, Government and Regulatory Communications
Senior Vice President, Communications
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