Airlines Report Decline in July Passenger Demand

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The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) reports that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers fell, 21 percent in July 2009 versus the same month in 2008— the ninth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year.

“While the modest improvement in demand from June to July would normally be cause for cautious optimism, the fact is that the number of air travelers continues to fall despite double-digit declines in fares,” said ATA President and CEO James May. "Clearly, with the difficult economic environment, demand for air travel remains weak.”

In July, 4 percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines while the average price to fly one mile fell 18 percent, a modest improvement over the 21 percent year-over-year yield decline observed in June. Revenue declines extended beyond the mainland United States to the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and Latin markets.

Also reflecting a weak global economy is the continued decline in cargo traffic. U.S. airlines saw cargo revenue ton miles decline 15 percent year over year (11 percent domestically and 18 percent internationally) in June 2009, the 11th consecutive month of declining volumes. July 2009 cargo data is not yet available, the ATA said.

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 28,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.

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