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May 2013 U.S. Airline System Passengers Up 1.7% from May 2012

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines carried 64.8 million systemwide (domestic + international) scheduled service passengers in May 2013, 1.7 percent more than in May 2012. The systemwide increase was the result of a 1.4 percent increase in the number of domestic passengers (56.5 million) and a 3.7 percent increase in international passengers (8.2 million) (Tables 1, 7, 13).

Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International),
May 2008-May 2013

Passengers on All U.S. Scheduled Airlines (Domestic & International)

SOURCE for recession dates: National Bureau of Economic Research,

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that U.S. airlines carried 0.5 percent more total system (domestic + international) passengers during the first five months of 2013 (298.7 million) than during the same period in 2012 (Table 2). Domestically, U.S. airlines carried 259.9 million passengers, 0.3 percent more than 2012 (Table 8). Internationally, they carried 38.8 million passengers, up 1.9 percent from 2012 (Table 14). See Tables 2, 8 and 14 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous-year data.

The May 2013 system load factor of 84.2 percent, the domestic load factor of 84.8 percent and the international load factor of 83.0 percent were all record highs for the month of May as year-over-year growth in revenue passenger-miles exceeded both domestic and international capacity expansion (Tables 1, 7, 13). Load factor is a measure of the use of aircraft capacity that compares Revenue Passenger-Miles (RPMs) as a proportion of Available Seat-Miles (ASMs).

Additional traffic data can be found on the BTS Airlines and Airports page.  Click on a link in the Quick Links box on the right.  For more historical data, see on the BTS website.

Top Airlines

Monthly: In May, Delta Air Lines carried more system passengers than any other U.S. airline (Table 4).  Southwest Airlines carried the most domestic passengers (Table 10). United Airlines carried the most international passengers (Table 16). The top 10 U.S. airlines in terms of number of passengers carried 80.4 percent of systemwide passengers, up from 79.9 percent carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 in May 2012.

Year-to-date: During the first five months of 2013, Delta carried more system passengers than any other U.S. airline (Table 3) and Southwest carried the most domestic passengers (Table 9).  United carried the most international passengers (Table 15). The top 10 U.S. airlines carried 80.6 percent of systemwide passengers, up from 79.8 percent carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 during the first five months of 2012.

Top Airports           

Monthly: In May, more total system and domestic passengers boarded planes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 6, 12); and more international passengers boarded U.S. carriers at Miami than at any other U.S. airport (Table 18).

Year-to-date: During the first five months of 2013, more total system and domestic passengers boarded planes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson than at any other U.S. airport (Tables 5 and 11); and more international passengers boarded U.S. carriers at Miami than at any other U.S. airport (Table 17).

Reporting Notes
Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 74 carriers as of Aug. 7 for U.S. carrier scheduled civilian operations.

Southwest and AirTran Airways are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of their financial reports.  They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they remain operating as separate economic entities.

Go to for the complete list of reporting and non-reporting carriers. U.S. carriers’ foreign point-to-point flights are included in system and international totals. To create a customized table for passengers, flights, RPMs, ASMs and other data, including non-scheduled service, go to

For additional scheduled service numbers for U.S. airlines, U.S. and foreign airlines, by airline and by airport, see , , , and .

Traffic numbers are available on the BTS website at TranStats, the Intermodal Transportation Database, at .  Click on “Aviation.”  For system passengers, RPMs and ASMs by carrier through May, click on “Air Carrier Summary Data (Form 41 and 298C Summary Data),” and then click on “Schedule T-1.” Use crosstabs to find scheduled service.

For domestic numbers through May and international numbers through February by origin as well as by carrier, after clicking on “Aviation,” click on “Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic).”  Click on “T-100 Market” for system passenger numbers, “T-100 Domestic Market” for domestic or “T-100 International Market” for international.  For flights, stage length and trip length, use the appropriate T-100 Segment database. Use crosstabs to find scheduled service.

International totals in this press release consist of all U.S. carrier operations to and from the U.S. and from one foreign point to another foreign point. TranStats T-100 system and international totals do not include U.S. carriers’ foreign point-to-point flights. For May, U.S. carriers reported 198,249 foreign point-to-point passengers. For January through May, U.S. carriers reported 984,214 foreign point-to-point passengers.

Data are subject to revision. BTS has scheduled Sept. 24 for the release of June traffic data.

Table 1. Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Airline Travel on U.S. Airlines

 MonthlyYear-to-Date
May 2012May 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)63.764.81.7297.2298.70.5
Flights (in thousands)797.2788.2-1.13,839.53,734.6-2.7
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)71.273.02.6328.3332.91.4
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)85.286.71.7406.3407.30.2
Load Factor*83.684.20.680.881.70.9
Flight Stage Length**751.8767.82.1749.9766.12.2
Passenger Trip Length***1,117.41,126.80.81,104.61,114.70.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market and Segment

* Change in load factor points

** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Total System (Domestic and International) Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

 201120122011-2012 Pct. Change20132012-2013 Pct. Change
January53.754.41.455.31.7
February50.153.16.152.5-1.2
March63.664.51.465.11.0
April60.561.51.661.0-0.9
May63.963.7-0.364.81.7
June66.266.60.6  
July69.969.2-1.0  
August66.367.82.2  
September58.157.4-1.1  
October61.260.8-0.6  
November58.358.70.8  
December59.158.9-0.3  
5 Mo Total291.7297.21.9298.70.5
Yr. Total730.8736.60.8  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 3. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by January-May 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-May 2013 RankCarrierJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Delta47.156145.5323.6
2Southwest*46.185245.0882.4
3United36.273337.698-3.8
4American35.377435.484-0.3
5US Airways23.503522.5044.4
6ExpressJet13.201612.6834.1
7JetBlue12.396711.6946.0
8SkyWest11.103810.2338.5
9AirTran7.81999.033-13.4
10Alaska7.802117.3416.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 4. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by May 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

May 2013 RankCarrierMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Delta10.36519.9454.2
2Southwest*10.35529.7516.2
3United7.77938.073-3.6
4American7.45847.564-1.4
5US Airways4.95854.6815.9
6ExpressJet2.92062.7625.7
7JetBlue2.56072.3727.9
8SkyWest2.35382.1879.0
9AirTran1.68891.969-14.3
10Alaska1.664111.5646.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 5. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by January-May 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-May 2013 RankAirportJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta18.037118.078-0.2
2Chicago O'Hare11.623211.853-1.9
3Dallas/Fort Worth11.506311.0054.6
4Los Angeles10.03259.9271.1
5Denver9.93149.990-0.6
6Charlotte8.58978.1225.8
7Phoenix8.14568.1270.2
8Las Vegas7.51587.588-1.0
9Houston Bush7.25097.415-2.2
10San Francisco7.242107.1441.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Numbers do not include international enplanements on foreign carriers

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 6. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by May 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

May 2013 RankAirportMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta3.98214.019-0.9
2Chicago O'Hare2.63822.6190.7
3Dallas/Fort Worth2.47532.4361.6
4Los Angeles2.22052.1174.8
5Denver2.15042.179-1.3
6Charlotte1.86961.7526.6
7Phoenix1.68171.6720.5
8San Francisco1.652101.5894.0
9Las Vegas1.64181.6181.4
10Houston Bush1.55291.595-2.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* Numbers do not include international enplanements on foreign carriers

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 7. Domestic Scheduled Airline Travel on U.S. Airlines

 MonthlyYear-to-Date
May 2012May 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)55.756.51.4259.2259.90.3
Flights (in thousands)725.7715.9-1.43,486.33,381.9-3.0
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)49.150.12.1228.1231.11.3
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)58.159.11.7278.1279.80.6
Load Factor*84.584.80.382.082.60.6
Flight Stage Length**642.3655.52.1642.3657.32.3
Passenger Trip Length***880.3886.40.7880.3889.31.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market and Segment

* Change in load factor points

** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 8. Domestic Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

 201120122011-2012 Pct. Change20132012-2013 Pct. Change
January46.347.11.747.81.6
February43.746.46.445.7-1.5
March55.656.21.056.60.6
April52.953.71.653.2-0.9
May56.055.7-0.456.51.4
June57.857.90.2  
July60.359.7-1.0  
August57.458.62.2  
September51.050.1-1.7  
October54.153.7-0.8  
November51.751.80.4  
December51.551.2-0.7  
5 Mo. Total254.5259.21.8259.90.3
Yr. Total638.2642.20.6  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 9. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by January-May 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-May 2013 RankCarrierJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Southwest*46.185145.0882.4
2Delta38.842237.3873.9
3American26.702426.883-0.7
4United26.227327.522-4.7
5US Airways20.601519.7014.6
6ExpressJet12.025611.6473.3
7JetBlue10.610710.0975.1
8SkyWest10.50889.7308.0
9AirTran7.13798.554-16.6
10Alaska7.010116.5287.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 10. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by May 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

May 2013 RankCarrierMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Southwest*10.35519.7516.2
2Delta8.52228.1854.1
3American5.66245.810-2.6
4United5.61935.909-4.9
5US Airways4.31454.0666.1
6ExpressJet2.66462.5494.5
7SkyWest2.25372.0808.3
8JetBlue2.20582.0617.0
9AirTran1.54591.870-17.4
10Alaska1.516111.4236.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 11. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by January-May 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-May 2013 RankAirportJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta16.342116.415-0.4
2Dallas/Fort Worth10.487310.0734.1
3Chicago O'Hare10.484210.719-2.2
4Denver9.65949.718-0.6
5Los Angeles9.25459.1241.4
6Charlotte8.01087.5605.9
7Phoenix7.81267.7860.3
8Las Vegas7.50977.581-0.9
9San Francisco6.535106.4461.4
10Orlando6.51296.684-2.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 12. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by May 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

May 2013 RankAirportMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta3.59213.643-1.4
2Chicago O'Hare2.36722.3560.5
3Dallas/Fort Worth2.24832.2300.8
4Denver2.09842.127-1.4
5Los Angeles2.05151.9495.2
6Charlotte1.73261.6216.8
7Las Vegas1.64071.6171.5
8Phoenix1.61881.6070.7
9San Francisco1.47091.4173.7
10Orlando1.310101.331-1.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 13. International Scheduled Airline Travel on U.S. Airlines

 MonthlyYear-to-Date
May 2012May 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)7.98.23.738.138.81.9
Flights (in thousands)71.572.31.1353.2352.6-0.2
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)22.122.93.5100.2101.81.6
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)27.127.61.9128.2127.5-0.6
Load Factor*81.583.01.578.279.81.6
Flight Stage Length**1,863.21,879.90.91,812.71,809.9-0.2
Passenger Trip Length***2,784.52,780.1-0.22,631.82,624.6-0.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market and Segment

* Change in load factor points

** The average non-stop distance flown per departure in miles

*** The average distance flown per passenger in miles

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 14. International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

 201120122011-2012 Pct. Change20132012-2013 Pct. Change
January7.47.4-0.37.52.3
February6.46.74.46.80.7
March7.98.34.28.53.3
April7.77.81.77.8-0.6
May7.97.90.78.23.7
June8.58.72.8  
July9.69.5-1.0  
August8.99.12.4  
September7.17.32.8  
October7.17.21.0  
November6.66.94.3  
December7.57.72.3  
5 Mo. Total37.338.12.138.81.9
Yr. Total92.594.42.0  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 15. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by January-May 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Jan-May 2013 RankCarrierJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1United10,046.3110,175.5-1.3
2American8,674.928,601.20.9
3Delta8,314.238,144.92.1
4US Airways2,901.942,802.93.5
5JetBlue1,786.251,597.411.8
6ExpressJet1,176.361,036.113.5
7Alaska791.47813.1-2.7
8American Eagle707.58509.338.9
9AirTran*681.811479.142.3
10SkyWest594.49502.718.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 16. Top 10 U.S. Airlines, ranked by May 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

May 2013 RankCarrierMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1United2,160.212,164.2-0.2
2Delta1,843.321,760.24.7
3American Eagle1,796.531,753.72.4
4US Airways644.24615.04.7
5JetBlue355.15311.014.2
6ExpressJet255.56213.619.6
7American Eagle147.69106.838.3
8Alaska147.37141.04.5
9AirTran*143.31198.345.7
10SkyWest130.28107.221.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Southwest and AirTran are reporting as separate carriers with the exception of the financials. They have one FAA SOC (single operating certificate), requiring that they utilize the same safety/operating procedures, but they have separate DOT 401 economic certificates, meaning they are operating as separate economic entities.

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Note: For previous rankings see BTS Air Traffic Press Releases

Table 17. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by January-May 2012 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Jan-May 2013 RankAirportJan-May 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-May 2012 RankJan-May 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Miami2,379.412,355.81.0
2New York JFK1,862.021,865.3-0.2
3Atlanta1,695.131,663.01.9
4Newark1,598.941,615.9-1.1
5Houston Bush1,358.151,367.0-0.6
6Chicago O'Hare1,139.361,133.20.5
7Dallas/Fort Worth1,019.07931.89.4
8Los Angeles777.48803.3-3.2
9San Francisco707.69698.01.4
10Philadelphia683.610666.82.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Numbers do not include international enplanements on foreign carriers

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 18. Top 10 U.S. Airports, ranked by May 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

May 2013 RankAirportMay 2013 Enplaned PassengersMay 2012 RankMay 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Miami481.81460.14.7
2New York JFK423.92418.21.4
3Atlanta389.93375.83.7
4Newark357.74351.81.7
5Houston Bush281.65285.3-1.3
6Chicago O'Hare271.16263.03.1
7Dallas/Fort Worth227.17206.310.1
8San Francisco182.08171.56.2
9Philadelphia170.710163.24.6
10Los Angeles168.79168.20.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* Numbers do not include international enplanements on foreign carriers

Note: Percentage changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017
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