U.S. airlines carried 53.1 million scheduled domestic and international passengers in February 2012, 6.4 percent more domestic passengers and 4.4 percent more international passengers than in February 2011, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.
These changes resulted in a systemwide increase of 6.1 percent in passengers from February 2011, BTS says. The February 2012 passenger total was 9.0 percent above that of two years ago in February 2010. Both periods benefited from the addition of an extra travel day in February 2012.
BTS also reported in a release of preliminary data that the system load factor of 76.7 percent and the domestic load factor of 78.9 percent were record highs for the month of February.
U.S. airlines carried 107.6 million total system passengers during the first two months of 2012, up 3.7 percent from the same period in 2011. Domestically, they carried 93.5 million passengers, up 3.9 percent from 2011. Internationally, they carried 14.1 million passengers, up 1.9 percent from 2011.
The first two months of 2012 continued the trend of 2011 when the system and domestic load factors were at an all-time high while the international load factor declined from the all-time high in 2010.
Domestic capacity, measured by available seat-miles, increased 4.4 percent in February 2012 compared to February 2011, while revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased by 5.7 percent, resulting in the record domestic load factor.
The international load factor in February increased as airlines grew capacity by 1.4 percent while RPMs gained by a larger 1.9 percent. Systemwide capacity was up 1.6 percent compared to a 2.9 percent increase in RPMs.
In January, Southwest Airlines carried more total system and domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline. United Airlines, following its merger with Continental Airlines, carried the most international passengers. The top 10 US airlines carried 79.8 percent of systemwide passengers, an increase from the 71.3 percent in February 2011.
During the first two months of 2012, Southwest carried more total system and domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline, while United carried the most international passengers.