The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today reported This is the second in a series of reports that will be issued by ATA during the recessionary period. that passenger revenue Based on data reported to ATA by Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways; also includes data for Air Midwest, Air Wisconsin, Allegheny, American Eagle, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Southeast, Chautauqua, Comair, Continental Express, Executive, Freedom, Horizon, Mesa, Mesaba, MidAtlantic, Piedmont, Pinnacle, PSA, Shuttle America, SkyWest and Trans States. fell 23 percent in March 2009 versus the same month in 2008 - the fifth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year. March passenger traffic on U.S. airlines fell by 10 percent, while the overall cost to fly one mile fell by 13 percent. Declines extended beyond the mainland United States to transatlantic, transpacific and Latin markets.
Compounding the softening demand for travel, U.S. airlines Based on data reported to ATA by Aloha, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta (incl. NWA), FedEx, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Midwest, Southwest, United, UPS and US Airways. saw cargo traffic - as measured by revenue ton miles - decline 21 percent year over year in February 2009, matching the decline measured in January and marking the seventh consecutive month of declining cargo traffic. Notably, cargo traffic in the Latin region fell 27 percent. Year-over-year results were also adversely affected because February 2008 consisted of 29 days. March 2009 cargo data is not yet available.
“We are seeing first quarter 2009 earnings for the U.S. airline industry that reflect the adverse conditions impacting the broader economy,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “While the industry faces demand uncertainty as we head into the summer, we certainly would like to believe that we have seen the low point.”
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 30,000 flights in 77 countries using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo. More than half of U.S. exports by value move by air and every $1 million of aviation economic activity generates approximately 24 U.S. jobs.