Airline Information Airline Traffic Annual Release: 2001

Fewer airline passengers traveled on U.S. airlines in 2001 than in 2000, the first annual decline in a decade, according to the year-end report on aviation traffic from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). 

The number of passengers had increased every year since 1991.  The number of U.S airline flights, which also declined last year, had grown every year since 1997. The decline in traffic was caused by the events of Sept. 11.  Through August, enplanements were up very slightly, but for the remaining four months there were 20 percent fewer passengers than in 2000. 

In 2001, 622 million passengers boarded 8.8 million U.S. airline flights, down from 666 million passengers on 9 million flights in 2000. 

While passenger enplanements were down 6.6 percent and flights were down 2.7 percent from 2000, freight revenue ton-miles were off more than 7 per cent.  International freight was down 7.8 percent. 

The major airlines—those with annual operating revenues of $1 billion or more— reported an overall decline in passengers of 7.4 percent during 2001. American Trans Air reported the biggest increase, almost 10 percent, while only two other major airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, reported a rise in passengers. The biggest drops were reported by United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, both of which carried 10 percent fewer passengers in 2001 than in 2000.       


The Air Carrier Traffic Statistics report for December 2001 contains year-end statistics for 2001 and 2000. The BTS Office of Airline Information collected the information in Air Carrier Traffic Statistics from 15 major air carriers, 39 nationals, 20 large regionals, and 23 medium regionals. No information from small regionals or commuter carriers is included. Air Carrier Traffic Statistics also includes detailed traffic statistics for each of the reporting airlines.  National carriers are those with $100 million to $1 billion in annual operating revenues, large regionals those with $20 million to $100 million, and medium regionals those with under $20 million.

Additional information may be found in the attached tables or at the BTS website at

Monthly issues of Air Carrier Traffic Statistics are available from BTS for $50 each. An annual subscription can be obtained for $450. To obtain copies, send checks payable to “BTS” to: