Passenger Traffic Down 8.7 Percent in May

Washington, June 18, 2002—The Air Transport Association (ATA) reported that revenue passenger miles (RPMs) declined 8.7 percent, systemwide in May, versus the same month in 2001. Domestic revenue passenger miles declined 7.9 percent and international RPMs decreased 10.6 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.

On average, passenger enplanements were down 10.3 percent in May. The number of enplanements declined 10.8 percent domestically, and 5.8 percent internationally.

“Although the Memorial Day weekend improved May’s result, the overall recovery in passenger traffic has been significantly slower than expected,” stated ATA Chief Economist David Swierenga. “We remain concerned that additional government-imposed taxes and fees combined with the ‘hassle factor’ could place the airline industry and future economic growth at serious risk.”

The system-wide load factor was 72.6 percent in May. The domestic load factor was 71.4 percent and the international load factor was 76.0 percent. The narrow improvement in load factor compared to the previous month was driven by a 10.7 percent decline in systemwide 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.