The Air Transport Association (ATA) reported that systemwide revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 26.7 percent in September, versus the same month in 2001. However, when compared to September 2000, which is a more appropriate comparison since the U.S. air transport system was shutdown for four days in 2001 as a result of the September 11 attacks, RPMs declined 12.8 percent. In addition, air service did not return to its previous schedule after the National Airspace System re-opened and remains well below pre-September 2001 levels.
This report—as well as remaining passenger traffic reports this year—will compare data to that available in comparable months of both 2000 and 2001 as a more accurate measure of growth. Revenue passenger mile is the industry term used to quantify the volume of business; one RPM equals one fare-paying passenger transported one mile.
Available seat miles (ASM) increased 12.2 percent in September as compared to 2001, and declined 8.3 percent when compared to 2000. Available seat mile is a standard unit of air transport passenger capacity, defined as one seat transported one mile.
“September passenger figures reflect the continued economic drag and stalled travel that surrounded the September 11 anniversary,” stated ATA Chief Economist David Swierenga.
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.