Summer 2023 Could Be Busiest Ever: ARC

Backing up all previous reports that this summer is looking to be busy on the travel front, Airlines Reporting Corp.’s (ARC) latest monthly data supports the notion that summer 2023 could be the busiest ever.

May 2023 U.S. travel agency air ticket sales increased 7 percent year-over-year to $9 billion. The May total marks the second time monthly sales have eclipsed $9 billion this year, trailing the $9.6 billion March record. Even better: This number was buoyed by a continued increase in travelers, as total passenger trips in May (24.12 million) were up 3 percent over April and 6 percent over 2022. Domestic trips compared to 2022 were up 3 percent but, more impressively, international trips were up 10 percent year-over-year.

The average price of a U.S. round-trip air travel ticket sold in May fell below year-over-year levels for the second consecutive month. That said, the 2 percent month-over-month increase in average ticket price followed identical pre-pandemic trends for April to May. When compared to last year, the average ticket price in May 2023 was down 11 percent.

Said Steve Solomon, chief commercial officer at ARC: “Travelers will be relieved to see both lower airfare prices and increased seat capacity compared to last year as they book travel for what could be the busiest summer travel season ever for several popular destinations.”

In addition, ancillary sales (which Includes fees for products and services such as upgraded seats, checked bags, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc.) increased 56 percent year-over-year to $26.6 million. Ancillary transactions increased 45 percent to 355,575 over the same period.

Year-to-date, total passenger trips in 2023 still trail 2019 (119.82 million vs. 137.82 million) but the gap could continue to close with each month.

Source: ARC

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