March Passenger Traffic Boosted by Spring Holiday Travel

The Air Transport Association (ATA) reported that revenue passenger miles (RPMs) declined 8.9 percent, systemwide in March, versus the same month in 2001. Domestic revenue passenger miles declined 8.1 percent and international RPMs decreased 10.8 percent. Revenue passenger mile is the industry term used to quantify the volume of business; one RPM equals one fare-paying passenger transported one mile.

Passenger enplanements were down 10.2 percent, on average, in March. The number of enplanements declined 10.8 percent, domestically, and 5.1 percent, internationally.

“Passenger traffic continues to show signs of recovery,” stated ATA Chief Economist David Swierenga. “The single-digit decline in traffic is encouraging, but we must keep in mind that the Spring holidays fell in March this year, as opposed to April in 2001, which made the year-over comparison more favorable.”

The system-wide load factor was 76.7 percent in March. The domestic load factor was 75.0 percent and the international load factor was 81.9 percent. The narrow improvement in load factor compared to the previous month was driven by an 11.8 percent decline in airline capacity. Load factor is the percentage of airline capacity that is utilized.

The Air Transport Association of America, Inc. is the trade association for leading U.S. airlines. ATA members transport over 95 percent of all the passenger and cargo traffic in the United States.