Airlines for America® (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced that in 2012 the U.S. airlines achieved an 82.8 percent load factor, the highest level for scheduled service since 1945, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) report released today. In addition, the U.S. airline industry enplaned 736.6 million passengers in scheduled service last year, up 0.8 percent from 2011, which includes a record-setting 83.4 million international passengers. The all-time annual high for passengers carried was 769.6 million in 2007. System-wide capacity, as measured by available seat miles, rose 0.2 percent.
“Last year, U.S. airlines set a modern-day record for passenger load factor, which speaks directly to their efficient utilization of seating capacity,” said John Heimlich Vice President and Chief Economist for Airlines for America. “While the U.S. airline industry operated approximately 2 percent fewer flights than in 2011, it carried 737 million passengers, the most since 2008. In fact, our nation’s carriers accommodated more than 83 million passengers internationally, reflecting our increasing presence and service offerings in highly competitive global markets.”