The Air Transport Association of America has reported that passenger revenue fell 18 percent in April 2009 versus the same month in 2008—the sixth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year.The number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines in April fell 6.3 percent, while the average price to fly one mile fell 12.6 percent. Revenue declines extended beyond the mainland United States to the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and Latin markets. April results partially reflect the shift in the Easter holiday from April last year to March this year.
Compounding the softening demand for travel, U.S. airlines saw cargo traffic—as measured by revenue ton miles—decline 21 percent year over year in March 2009, matching the decline measured in January and February and marking the eighth consecutive month of declining cargo traffic. Notably, cargo traffic in the Pacific region fell 28 percent. April 2009 cargo data is not yet available.
“The latest reports show the scope and depth of the recession’s continued toll on commercial aviation. The industry is seeing less demand in the cabin, as well as in the cargo holds—clear signs of the widespread slowdown in global economic activity,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 30,000 flights in 77 countries using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo.