Air Fares

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2nd-Quarter 2016 Air Fare Data

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The average domestic air fare decreased to $353 in the second quarter of 2016, down 9.6 percent from $390 in the second quarter of 2015, adjusted for inflation (Table 1), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. 

Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 2nd Quarter 1995-2016

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Figure 1. U.S. Average Domestic Fares, 2nd Quarter 1995-2016

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, ,

BTS reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares, unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. One-way trips accounted for 34 percent of fares calculated for the second quarter of 2016. Fares are based on the total ticket value, which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares.”  Constant 2016 dollars are used for inflation adjustment.

Inflation-Adjusted Air Fares
Second-quarter fares rose 17.0 percent from the recession-affected low of $337 in 2009 to $395 in the second quarter of 2011. From the second quarter of 2011, fares fell 10.7 percent to the second quarter of 2016 (Table 1).

The second-quarter 2016 fare was down 26.2 percent from the average fare of $478 in 1999, the highest inflation-adjusted second quarter average fare in the 21 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995. Since 1995, inflation-adjusted fares declined 24.9 percent (Table 2). See for historic data.

In recent years, airlines have obtained additional revenue from fees charged to passengers as well as from other sources. U.S. passenger airlines collected 74.3 percent of their total revenue from passenger fares during the second quarter of 2016, down from 87.6 percent in 1995 (Table 1A).

Quarter-to-Quarter Change
Average fares have declined for six consecutive quarters after reaching an inflation-adjusted recent high of $403 in the fourth-quarter of 2014 (Table 3).

Unadjusted Air Fares
The $353 second-quarter 2016 average fare was down 10.9 from the second quarter 2014 fare of $396, which was the highest average fare for any second quarter since 1995. Since 1995, unadjusted fares rose 18.8 percent compared to a 58.1 percent increase in overall consumer prices (Table 4).

Second-quarter 2016 fares were down 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2016, dropping to the lowest unadjusted level since the fourth quarter of 2010 when the average fare was $335 (Table 5).

Fares by Airport

Figure 2. Fares by Airport Group based on Number of Originating Domestic Passengers 2Q 2016

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Figure 2. Fares by Airport Group based on Number of Originating Domestic Passengers 2Q 2016

Of airports grouped by the number of originating passengers in the second quarter of 2016, the 11 airports with between 50,000 and 99,999 originating passengers had the highest average fares ($397). Airports with 1.5 to 1.99 million originating passengers had the lowest average fares of any group ($335) (Table 6).

Tables listing the airports by group can be found on the .

For additional data, see or . Since average fares are based on the 10 percent ticket sample, averages for airports with smaller samples may be less reliable. Fares for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico airports are not included in rankings but are available on the web page. Third-quarter 2016 average fare data will be released Jan. 24.

Table 1. 2nd Quarter Average Fare 1995-2016, Adjusted for Inflation

Year Average Fare in constant 2016 dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%)
1995 469    
1996 424 -9.6 -9.6
1997 435 2.6 -7.2
1998 445 2.3 -5.1
1999 478 7.3 1.8
2000 474 -0.7 1.1
2001 445 -6.1 -5.1
2002 426 -4.3 -9.2
2003 413 -3.1 -12.0
2004 393 -4.7 -16.2
2005 380 -3.3 -19.0
2006 406 6.8 -13.5
2007 376 -7.2 -19.8
2008 382 1.5 -18.5
2009 337 -11.8 -28.1
2010 377 11.7 -19.7
2011 395 4.8 -15.8
2012 404 2.4 -13.9
2013 390 -3.4 -16.8
2014 400 2.5 -14.7
2015 390 -2.6 -16.9
2016 353 -9.6 -24.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 1A. Passenger Airline Revenue from Fares 1990-2016

Year Revenue from Passenger Fares as Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline Operating Revenue* (%)
1990 88.5
1995 87.6
2000 88.9
2001 87.8
2002 87.1
2003 84.9
2004 80.6
2005 78.4
2006 77.6
2007 77.7
2008 75.9
2009 73.7
2010 74.8
2011 74.6
2012 74.1
2013 74.6
2014 74.8
2015 74.7
2016 (1Q) 73.7
2016 (2Q) 74.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, P-1.2

* From Schedule P-1.2: Passenger Revenue (Fares) (Acct 3901) as a percentage of Total Operating Revenues (4999).

Table 2. Percent Changes to 2016 in Average Domestic Average Fares and the Inflation Rate* by Year Since 1995

(2nd Quarter to 2nd Quarter for fares; Jun to Jun for inflation)

Since 2nd Quarter of ... Duration in Years Average Fare in constant 2016 dollars ($) Percent Change in Average Fare to 2nd Quarter 2016 (%)
2016   353  
2015 1 390 -9.6
2014 2 400 -11.9
2013 3 390 -9.7
2012 4 404 -12.8
2011 5 395 -10.7
2010 6 377 -6.4
2009 7 337 4.5
2008 8 382 -7.8
2007 9 376 -6.4
2006 10 406 -13.1
2005 11 380 -7.2
2004 12 393 -10.3
2003 13 413 -14.6
2002 14 426 -17.2
2001 15 445 -20.8
2000 16 474 -25.7
1999 17 478 -26.2
1998 18 445 -20.8
1997 19 435 -19.0
1996 20 424 -16.9
1995 21 469 -24.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

* Rate calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Table 3. Inflation-Adjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (2016$)
Average Fare in constant 2016 dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2014 400 2.6
3Q 2014 401 0.3
4Q 2014 403 0.4
1Q 2015 396 -1.7
2Q 2015 390 -1.7
3Q 2015* 377 -3.5
4Q 2015* 369 -1.9
1Q 2016* 366 -1.1
2Q 2016* 353 -3.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

* Fares for the most recent four quarters are in current dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

Table 4. Unadjusted 2nd Quarter Average Fares, 1995-2016

Year Average Fare in current dollars ($) Year-to-Year Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q to 2Q) (%) Cumulative Percent Change in Average Fare (2Q 1995 to 2Q of each year) (%) Inflation Rate Change to Jun 2016
1995 297     58.1
1996 276 -7.1 -7.1 53.8
1997 289 5.0 -2.5 50.4
1998 301 4.0 1.4 47.9
1999 329 9.4 11.0 45.0
2000 339 3.0 14.3 39.8
2001 329 -3.1 10.7 35.4
2002 318 -3.3 7.1 34.0
2003 315 -1.1 6.0 31.2
2004 309 -1.6 4.3 27.1
2005 307 -0.9 3.3 23.9
2006 342 11.4 15.1 18.8
2007 325 -4.7 9.6 15.7
2008 347 6.6 16.9 10.2
2009 302 -13.0 1.7 11.8
2010 341 12.9 14.8 10.6
2011 370 8.5 24.6 6.8
2012 385 4.1 29.6 5.0
2013 378 -1.7 27.4 3.2
2014 396 4.7 33.3 1.1
2015 386 -2.5 30.0 1.0
2016 353 -8.7 18.8 N/A

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 5. Unadjusted Average Domestic Airline Fares by Quarter

Average Fare and Percent Change by Quarter

Quarter/Year Average Domestic Fare (current$)
Average Fare in current dollars ($) Quarter-to-Quarter Percent Change in Average Fare (%)
2Q 2014 396 3.5
3Q 2014 396 0.2
4Q 2014 393 -0.9
1Q 2015 388 -1.1
2Q 2015 386 -0.6
3Q 2015 372 -3.7
4Q 2015 363 -2.5
1Q 2016 361 -0.4
2Q 2016 353 -2.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

Note: Percent change based on unrounded numbers

Table 6. Fares at Airports Grouped by Originating Passengers

Top 100 Airports* Based on 2016 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers

Airport Groups based on 2Q 2016 Originating Passengers Average Fare 2nd Quarter 2016 ($) Percent of Total Passengers
2 million+ 346 25
1.5-1.99 million 335 17
1.0-1.49 million 344 18
500-999,000 350 24
100-499,000 359 15
50-99,000 397 1
Average Fare at All Airports 353 100

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and

* Not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico

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