Airline Traffic Data

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December 2019 U.S. Airline Traffic Data

Release Number: 
BTS 12-20
Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020
 

U.S. airlines carried 79.0 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in December 2019, reaching a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high, up 0.9% from November.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is withholding the scheduled release of estimated U.S. airlines’ traffic data for January and February because the estimates are statistical forecasts based on previous trends. The estimates do not account for the impact of the coronavirus.

U.S. airlines carried 69.3 million domestic passengers and 9.70 million international passengers on flights in December.

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.

Two measures of U.S. airlines passenger enplanements

Reported December seasonally-adjusted

  • System-wide enplanements (79.0M) were a seasonally-adjusted all-time high, up 0.9% from the previous high (78.3M) reached in November 2019.
  • Domestic enplanements (69.3M) were a seasonally-adjusted all-time high, up 1.0% from the previous high (68.6M) reached in November 2019.
  • International enplanements (9.70M) were down 0.2% from the seasonally-adjusted reported high (9.72M) reached in May 2019.

Reported December unadjusted

  • Systemwide enplanements (79.3M) were up 4.8% from the all-time December reported high (75.4M) reached in 2018.
  • Domestic enplanements (69.7M) were up 9.5% from the all-time December reported high (63.6M) reached in 2018.
  • International enplanements (9.58M) were up 3.7% from the all-time December reported high (9.24M) reached in 2018.
Seasonally AdjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to
Previous MonthPrevious YearThree Years Previous
December reported79.00.9%4.8%13.4%
UnadjustedPassengers (in millions)Percent Change Compared to
Previous YearTwo Years PreviousThree Years Previous
December reported79.39.5%12.7%16.6%

Revised Annual

For the full year 2019, January through December, U.S. airlines carried 926.7 million passengers, revised from the second estimate of 926.1 million in last month’s release. The annual total was the highest based on comparable records kept since 2003. The annual number has reached a new high for five consecutive years. The reported 2019 passenger total is up 4.2% from 2018, up 9.1% from 2017 and up 12.5% from 2016. Numbers are unadjusted.

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
2019927

For data filed through December, 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 75 U.S. carriers as of March 3 for U.S. carrier scheduled civilian operations.

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

BTS has scheduled April 16 for the release of reported data through January.

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

Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2020