U.S. Airlines Post Eighth Consecutive Month of Revenue Growth

Spending on air travel remains well above last year’s depressed levels, but the airline industry is wary of a possible slowdown in the nation’s economic recovery as it enters the traditionally slower fall period, said James C. May, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association of America (ATA).

The ATA reports that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers, rose 17 percent in August 2010 compared to the same month in 2009, marking the eighth consecutive month of revenue growth. The pace of improvement slowed from the 25 percent and 20 percent year-over-year gains realized in June and July, respectively.

Approximately 1 percent more passengers traveled on a sample of U.S. airlines in August while the average price to fly one mile rose 14 percent. International passenger revenue rose 27 percent, led by a 44 percent gain in trans-Pacific markets.

“Spending on air travel remains well above last year’s depressed levels, but the industry is wary of a possible slowdown in the nation’s economic recovery as it enters the traditionally slower fall period,” said May.

A sample of U.S. airlines saw cargo traffic, as measured in cargo revenue ton miles, rise 15 percent year over year (3 percent domestically and 24 percent internationally) in July 2010, driven by increased international trade. August 2010 cargo data is not yet available.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate approximately 25,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo.

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