Airfares and Passenger Traffic Down Nearly 12 Percent in April

Washington, May 21, 2002—The Air Transport Association (ATA) Office of Economics reports that average domestic airfares declined 11.9 percent and average international airfares declined 2.1 percent in April compared to the same month in 2001. The average fare for a 1,000-mile domestic trip fell to $124.80. The average fare for a 4,000-mile international trip fell to $385.92.

Also in April, revenue passenger miles (RPMs) declined 11.7 percent system-wide versus the same month in 2001. Domestic RPMs declined 10.6 percent and international RPMs decreased 14.8 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 12.9 percent, system-wide, in April. The number of enplanements declined 13.1 percent domestically and 10.6 percent internationally. The system-wide load factor was 71.9 percent in April, based on 11.0 percent less capacity. The domestic load factor was 71.0 percent and the international load factor was 74.3 percent. Load factor is the percentage of airline capacity that is utilized.

“A year ago, domestic airfares were down 2.5 percent from the previous year. As of April 2002, they continued to drop - down nearly 12 percent from the already depressed prices of a year ago,” said ATA Chief Economist David Swierenga. “In addition, passenger volume declines returned to double digits due largely to the Spring holidays falling in March this year versus April last year.”
The airfare report includes yearly and monthly average domestic coach-class and first/business-class ticket prices and domestic and international average ticket prices overall. Information in the report is compiled from actual prices paid by consumers, which are provided by air carriers to ATA. Airfares are normalized for a 1,000-mile trip domestically and a 4,000-mile trip internationally. The airfare information in this report does not include local, federal or foreign taxes.

Price changes are updated monthly and are compared to the same period of the previous year. Because of strong seasonal differences in airfares, month-to-month comparisons are less useful than comparisons for the same period a year earlier.


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.