ARC reported that domestic airline travel in 2010 returned to levels near those of pre-financial crisis 2008. At the same time, ARC noted that 76 of the top 100 airports posted gains for the year, with select Midwest and NewYork state airports achieving the largest increases. ARC is the U.S. financial settlement engine and data repository for the airlines’ travel agency sales channel.
Based upon aggregate ticket volume data, ARC said domestic travel in 2010 increased by 7 percent from a year earlier. According to ARC’s data, domestic travel – tickets with an origin and destination in the U.S. – dropped significantly with the onset of the recession in 2008, posting a decline of 7.1 percent in 2008, before bottoming out in 2009 when volume posted a year-over-year decline of another 8.3 percent below 2008 levels. Since that time, ARC’s data showed a steady recovery throughout 2010.
“There are clear signs that the environment for domestic travel has rebounded to levels we haven’t seen since before the global recession,” said David R.B. Collins, ARC’s president and chief executive officer. “The data for 2010 clearly show that travellers are returning to the air for domestic travel.”
Thirteen U.S. airports posted increases in excess of 10 percent, with Midwest and New York State airports leading the way. Grand Rapids, Mich., topped the list with a 21.6 percent increase from 2009 volume. Four other Midwest airports also posted increases of more than 10 percent: Akron, Ohio, 17.9 percent; Milwaukee, Wis., 17.5 percent; Madison, Wis., 10.9 percent, and Des Moines, Iowa, 10.9 percent. Three New York State airports achieved similar increases: White Plains, 16.5 percent, LaGuardia, 14.8 percent and Rochester, 11.1 percent.
Several airports outside the Midwest and New York State also posted strong growth, including Lexington, Ky., 16.2 percent; Fort Myers, Fla., 13.6 percent; Pensacola, Fla., 13.4 percent; Harrisburg, Pa., 10.9 percent and Memphis, Tenn., 10.2 percent.