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Air Fares

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3rd-Quarter 2011 Domestic Air Fares Rose 6.2% from 3rd Quarter 2010

Release Number: 
BTS 05-12

TOP 100 AIRPORTS: HIGHEST FARES AT CINCINNATI, LOWEST FARE AT ATLANTIC CITY

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Table Version | Excel | CSVDomestic Air Fares

Domestic Air Fares

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - Average domestic air fares rose to $361 in the third quarter of 2011, up 6.2 percent from the average fare of $340 in the third quarter of 2010 (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Cincinnati had the highest average fare, $488, while Atlantic City, NJ, had the lowest, $167 (Table 3).

Third-quarter fares decreased 2.4 percent from the second quarter (Table 2). Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, 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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

Not inflation-adjusted, the $361 third-quarter 2011 average fares were up 0.5 percent from the previous third-quarter high of $359 in 2008. Unadjusted third-quarter fares dropped to $307 in 2009 during the recession. Third-quarter 2011 fares were up 17.5 percent from the 2009 low, not adjusted for inflation (Table 6).

Third-quarter 2011 fares, not adjusted for inflation, were the second highest of any quarter, slightly below the high of $370 in the second quarter of 2011. Adjusted for inflation, third-quarter 2011 fares in 1995 dollars were $244, down 18.0 percent from the third quarter of 2000, which, at $297, was the inflation-adjusted high for any third quarter since 1995 (Table 1). BTS air fare records begin in 1995. See BTS Air Fare web page for historic data.

Passenger airlines collected 71.4 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the third quarter of 2011, the most recent quarter available (Table 1A).

Air fares in the third quarter of 2011 increased 7.1 percent from the third quarter of 2000, not adjusted for inflation, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 30.6 percent during that period. In the 16 years from 1995, the first year of BTS air fare records, air fares rose 25.5 percent compared to a 48.1 percent inflation rate (Table 6). The average inflation-adjusted third-quarter 2011 fare in 1995 dollars was $244 compared to $288 in 1995 and $297 in 2000 (Table 1).

See tables below for the following information about the top 100 airports based on 2010 originating passengers.

Table 3: Five highest and five lowest average fares in the third quarter: Cincinnati had the highest average fare, $488, while Atlantic City had the lowest, $167. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 8 on the BTS website.

Table 4: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011: Bellingham, WA, had the largest increase, 18.0 percent, and Charleston, SC, had the largest decrease, 10.1 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 9 on the BTS website.

Table 5: Five largest increases and five largest decreases from the third quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2011: Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA, had the largest increase, 57.6 percent, and White Plains, NY, had the largest decrease, 43.1 percent. For the Top 100 Airports, see Table 10 on the BTS website.

See the BTS Air Fare web page for average fares for the top 100 airports. Rankings can also be found on the BTS website. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports, which are not included in rankings, are available on the web page. Average fares for all airports are also available. Since average fares are based on the Origin and Destination Survey 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable.

Fourth-quarter 2011 average fare data will be released on April 25.

TABLE 1: 3RD QUARTER AVERAGE FARES 1995-2011 COMPARED TO INFLATION RATE

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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 Average Domestic 3Q Fares ($)Percent change from previous yearPercent change from 1995
AverageFares (3Q to 3Q)Inflation (Sep from previous Sep)*Cumulative Average Fares (3Q 1995 to 3Q of each year)Cumulative inflation rate (Sep of each year from Sep 1995)*Average Fare in 1995 dollars
1995288 153.2  288
1996269-6.3157.8-6.33.0262
19972824.7161.2-1.85.2268
199831511.7163.69.66.8295
19993170.6167.910.39.6289
20003376.1173.717.113.4297
2001303-10.0178.35.416.4260
20023030.1181.05.518.1257
20033123.0185.28.720.9258
2004297-5.1189.93.124.0239
20053063.2198.86.429.8236
20063307.9202.914.832.4249
2007328-0.8208.513.936.1241
20083599.6218.824.842.8251
2009307-14.5216.06.841.0218
201034010.7218.418.242.6238
20113616.2226.925.548.1244

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

TABLE 1A PASSENGER AIRLINE REVENUE FROM FARES 1990-2011

Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Scheduled Passenger Airline Total Revenue*

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YearRevenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Revenue* (%)
199087.6
199585.6
200084.1
200182.7
200282.3
200379.5
200476.6
200575.0
200674.4
200774.3
200872.9
200970.2
201071.3
2011 (1Q)70.4
2011 (2Q)71.3
2011 (3Q)71.4
2011 (thru Sept)71.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-12

* Scheduled passenger airline total revenue is the sum of the following Schedule P12 accounts with account numbers: Reservation cancellation fees (3919.1), Baggage fees (3906.2), Miscellaneous Operating Revenue (3919.2), Transport-Related Revenue (4898) and Passenger Revenue (Fares) (3901).

TABLE 2: QUARTERLY CHANGE IN AVERAGE DOMESTIC AIRLINE FARES

Percent Change by Quarter

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Quarter/YearAverage Domestic Fares
Avg Fare ($)Pct. Change from Previous Quarter (%)
2Q 2009302-3.8
3Q 20093071.7
4Q 20093204.2
1Q 20103282.6
2Q 20103413.8
3Q 2010340-0.3
4Q 2010335-1.5
1Q 20113566.3
2Q 20113703.9
3Q 2011361-2.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Note: Quarter-to-quarter changes may be affected by seasonal factors.

TABLE 3: AIRPORTS WITH HIGHEST AND LOWEST U.S. DOMESTIC AVERAGE ITINERARY FARES 3RD QUARTER 2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2011 ($)
 Highest Average Fares 
1Cincinnati, OH488
2Huntsville, AL473
3Memphis, TN472
4Houston Bush, TX469
5Washington Dulles468
 Average Fare at All Airports361
 Lowest Average Fares 
1Atlantic City, NJ167
2Long Beach, CA240
3Bellingham, WA253
4Ft. Lauderdale, FL256
5Orlando, FL263

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

TABLE 4: ONE-YEAR CHANGE BY AIRPORT: TOP 5 PERCENT INCREASES AND DECREASES IN U.S. DOMESTIC AVERAGE ITINERARY FARE, 2010 2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2010 ($)3rd Quarter 2011 ($)Percent Change (%)
 Largest Increases   
1Bellingham, WA21525318.0
2Harrisburg, PA38044316.7
3Ft. Myers, FL25129216.3
4Richmond, VA34039215.3
5Indianapolis, IN31435814.0
 Average Fare at All Airports3403616.2
 Largest Decreases   
1Charleston, SC451405-10.1
2Greenville/Spartanburg, SC415374-9.7
3Knoxville TN435422-3.0
4Fresno, CA420413-1.6
5Washington Reagan National374370-1.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

TABLE 5: 10-YEAR CHANGE BY AIRPORT: TOP 5 PERCENT INCREASES AND DECREASES IN U.S. DOMESTIC AVERAGE ITINERARY FARE, 2001-2011

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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RankOrigin3rd Quarter 2000 ($)3rd Quarter 2011 ($)Percent Change (%)
 Largest Increases   
1Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, CA18929957.6
2El Paso, TX26037845.5
3Reno, NV23233544.2
4Dallas Love, TX19227643.4
5Houston Hobby, TX21930840.4
 Average Fare at All Airports3373617.1
 Largest Decreases   
1White Plains, NY555316-43.1
2Bellingham, WA379253-33.2
3Denver, CO436316-27.6
4Long Beach, CA316240-24.0
5Milwaukee, WI366285-22.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

TABLE 6: PERCENT CHANGES TO 2011 IN DOMESTIC AVERAGE ITINERARY FARES AND THE INFLATION RATE* BY YEAR SINCE 1995

(1st Quarter to 1st Quarter for fares; March to March for inflation)

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. 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 other fees, such as baggage fees, paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or "zero fares" or a few abnormally high reported fares.

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Since 3rd Quarter...Duration in YearsAverage 3Q Itinerary Fare ($)Percent Change in Average Fare to 3rd Quarter 2011Inflation Rate to Sep 2011
2011 361  
201013406.23.9
2009230717.55.1
200833590.53.7
2007432810.18.8
200653309.311.8
2005630617.914.1
2004729721.619.5
2003831215.522.5
2002930318.925.4
20011030319.027.3
2000113377.130.6
19991231713.735.1
19981331514.438.7
19971428227.840.8
19961526933.943.8
19951628825.548.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

For air fares for the following airports, go to https://www.transtats.bts.gov/AIRFARES/.

Multiple airport areas for which a single average fare calculation is available are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Airports covered by average fare calculations are:

Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson
Arkansas: Little Rock
California: Burbank, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles Intl, Oakland, Ontario/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana (Orange County)
Colorado: Colorado Springs, Denver
Connecticut: Hartford
District of Columbia: Dulles, Reagan National
Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Georgia : Atlanta
Idaho: Boise
Illinois: Chicago Midway, Chicago O'Hare
Indiana: Indianapolis
Iowa: Des Moines
Kansas: Wichita
Kentucky: Louisville
Louisiana: New Orleans
Maine: Portland
Maryland: Baltimore
Massachusetts: Boston
Michigan: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids
Minnesota: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Mississippi: Jackson/Vicksburg
Missouri: Kansas City, St. Louis
Nebraska: Omaha
Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno
New Hampshire: Manchester
New Jersey: Atlantic City, Newark
New Mexico: Albuquerque
New York: Albany, Buffalo, Islip, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains
North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham
Ohio: Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Oregon: Portland
Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Rhode Island: Providence
South Carolina: Charleston, Greenville-Spartanburg
Tennessee: Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
Texas: Austin, Dallas Love, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston Bush, Houston Hobby, San Antonio
Utah: Salt Lake City
Vermont: Burlington
Virginia: Newport News/Williamsburg, Norfolk, Richmond
Washington: Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane
Wisconsin: Madison, Milwaukee

 
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017