Is U.S. Air Travel Demand in Trouble?


Raising new fears of an industry wide decline in consumer demand for air travel, Continental Airlines reported a March consolidated (mainline plus regional) load factor of 79.4 percent, 2.9 points below the March 2008 consolidated load factor. The carrier also reported a mainline load factor of 79.9 percent, 2.7 points below the March 2008 mainline load factor. Continental's March domestic mainline load factor of 84.3 percent is 0.9 points below the March 2008 domestic mainline load factor, and the March international mainline load factor of 75.8 percent is 4.2 points below March 2008.

For March 2009, consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is estimated to have decreased between 19.5 and 20.5 percent compared to March 2008, while mainline passenger RASM is estimated to have decreased between 18.5 and 19.5 percent compared to March 2008. For February 2009, consolidated passenger RASM decreased 11.5 percent compared to February 2008, while mainline passenger RASM decreased 10 percent compared to February 2008.

In March 2009, Continental flew 7.5 billion consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and 9.4 billion consolidated available seat miles (ASMs), resulting in a consolidated traffic decrease of 9.7 percent and a consolidated capacity decrease of 6.4 percent as compared to March 2008. In March 2009, Continental flew 6.7 billion mainline RPMs and 8.3 billion mainline ASMs, resulting in a mainline traffic decrease of 10 percent and a mainline capacity decrease of 7 percent as compared to March 2008. Domestic mainline traffic was 3.4 billion RPMs in March 2009, down 12.4 percent from March 2008, and domestic mainline capacity was 4.0 billion ASMs, down 11.5 percent from March 2008, Continental said.

On a positive note, Continental said it ended the first quarter 2009 with an unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance of approximately $2.65 billion.


FREE Virtual Event

Pivoting Back to Travel: Phase 4

Are you prepared to guide your clients through the “new normal” of travel? Join us December 15, 2020 from 1pm-2:20pm EST for Pivoting Back to Travel: Phase 4. The upcoming installment of our FREE virtual series will feature presentations from the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Seabourn on their most up-to-date travel procedures, health & safety protocols they’ve implemented to keep guests safe, activities that are open to visitors, what your clients need to know while on their trip and more! Visit www.pivotingbacktotravel to view the full agenda and register for your FREE pass.

Suggested Articles:

Accor is taking full ownership of sbe’s hotel asset light business and entered an all-share merger with Ennismore. Here's what it means.

The USTOA asked when active members anticipate restarting operations in destinations around the world. Here's what they had to say.

According to the October survey 69 percent of active members say they are confident or highly confident that guest bookings will increase in 2021.