The Airlines Reporting Corporation's (ARC) December 2008 and year-end operations and settlement results for U.S. travel agency and corporate travel department transactions show total sales for the year were essentially unchanged from the year before, ending at just below $80 billion dollars. Transactions, on the other hand, were sharply lower, ARC said, ending the year 7.4percent below what had been processed by ARC the year before.
“An encouraging beginning of the year characterized by higher international fares and stronger volumes was soon eclipsed by more broadly challenging market conditions,” said David Collins, ARC president and CEO. “Clearly the overall economic environment that has impacted the industry as a whole is reflected in ARC’s results for the year."
Total sales were down seven percent to $79.5 billion for the month. Virtually every indicator tracked by ARC was down including taxes and fees for the month (3.8 percent) but up for the year 8.3 percent. Total transactions were down 6.1 percent for the month and 7.4 percent for the year. Domestic transactions fell 7.4 percent and international transactions dropped 2.3 percent. Domestic fares for December were down 5 percent and international fares down 13.2 percent.
ARC said 17,673 retail locations reported and 1,174 satellite STP locations. The average daily sales reported was $6,949. ARC reported a record high number of 173 carrier participants.