The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines carried 61.5 million scheduled domestic and international passengers in April 2012, 1.5 percent more domestic passengers and 1.7 percent more international passengers than in April 2011. These changes resulted in a systemwide increase of 1.6 percent in passengers from April 2011. The April 2012 passenger total was 3.0 percent above that of two years ago in April 2010 (Table 2). BTS, a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, also reported in a release of preliminary data that the system load factor of 82.6 percent, domestic load factor of 83.5 percent, and international load factor of 80.5 percent were all record highs for the month of April. U.S. airlines carried 233.5 million total system passengers during the first four months of 2012, up 2.5 percent from the same period in 2011. Domestically, they carried 203.4 million passengers, up 2.5 percent from 2011. Internationally, they carried 30.1 million passengers,
up 2.5 percent from 2011. See Tables 2, 8 and 14 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous year numbers. Additional traffic numbers can be found on the BTS website in the Airlines and Airports box. Click on a link in the column on the right. For more historical numbers, see Traffic on the BTS website. Load Factor and CapacityThe first four months of 2012 continued 2011’s trend of all-time high system and domestic load factors, with an international load factor that declined from the record high set in 2010. The international load factor from January through April 2012 remained below that for the same period in 2010 although the international load factor reached an all-time high for the month of April. Domestic capacity, measured by available seat-miles, decreased 0.3 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased by 1.4 percent, resulting in the record-high domestic load factor. The international load factor in April increased as airlines reduced capacity by 1.4 percent while RPMs increased by 2.0 percent. Systemwide capacity was down 0.7 percent compared to a 1.6 percent increase in RPMs. See Tables 1, 7 and 13 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous year numbers.