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March 2013 U.S. Airline System Passengers Up 1.0% from March 2012

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines carried 65.1 million scheduled systemwide passengers in March 2013, 1.0 percent more than in March 2012. The systemwide increase was the result of a 0.6 percent increase in the number of domestic passengers (56.6 million) and a 3.3 percent increase in international passengers (8.5 million) (Tables 1, 7, 13).

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

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

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 three months of 2013 (172.9 million) than during the same period in 2012 (Table 2). Domestically, U.S. airlines carried 150.1 million passengers, up 0.3 percent from 2012 (Table 8). Internationally, they carried 22.8 million passengers, up 2.2 percent from 2012 (Table 14). See Tables 2, 8 and 14 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous-year data.

The system load factor of 84.3 percent, the domestic load factor of 85.0 percent and the international load factor of 82.8 percent were record highs for the month of March (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.

International Load Factor and Capacity

In March, for the third consecutive month, international capacity measured by ASMs, declined from the same month of the previous year. The capacity decline, combined with an increase in RPMs from March 2012, resulted in a record international load factor for the month of March, surpassing the previous high set in March 2010 (Table 13). See Tables 1, 7 and 13 of Air Traffic Press Releases for previous-year data.

Top Airlines

Monthly: In March, 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 80.8 percent of systemwide passengers, up from 79.8 percent carried by the U.S. airlines that were in the top 10 in March 2012.

Year-to-date: During the first three 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 three months of 2012.

Top Airports           

Monthly: In March, 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 three 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 June 5 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 March, 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 March and international numbers through December 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 March, U.S. carriers reported 206,783 foreign point-to-point passengers. For January through March, U.S. carriers reported 593,848 foreign point-to-point passengers.

Data are subject to revision. BTS has scheduled July 23 for the release of April traffic data.

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

 MonthlyYear-to-Date
Mar 2012Mar 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)64.565.11.0172.0172.90.5
Flights (in thousands)803.7784.9-2.32,264.82,188.2-3.4
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)70.872.21.9189.3192.11.5
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)85.385.60.4239.0237.5-0.6
Load Factor*83.084.31.379.280.91.7
Flight Stage Length**753.8769.52.1749.3764.22.0
Passenger Trip Length***1,098.31,108.50.91,100.61,111.00.9

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
January53.754.41.455.31.6
February50.153.16.152.5-1.2
March63.664.51.465.11.0
April60.561.51.6  
May63.963.7-0.3  
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  
3 Mo Total167.3172.02.8172.90.5
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-March 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankCarrierJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Delta27.012125.9774.0
2Southwest*26.188225.9660.9
3United21.187321.762-2.6
4American20.883420.7910.4
5US Airways13.807513.2853.9
6ExpressJet7.50767.2962.9
7JetBlue7.28776.8486.4
8SkyWest6.47085.9219.3
9Alaska4.527104.2656.1
10AirTran4.52595.189-12.8

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 March 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Mar 2013 RankCarrierMar 2013 Enplaned PassengersMar 2012 RankMar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Delta10.441110.0384.0
2Southwest*10.24829.7465.2
3United7.90838.143-2.9
4American7.54647.606-0.8
5US Airways5.03454.8463.9
6ExpressJet2.85662.7513.8
7JetBlue2.74272.5646.9
8SkyWest2.39382.2187.9
9AirTran1.79191.989-10.0
10Alaska1.678101.5766.5

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-March 2013 Scheduled System (Domestic and International) Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankAirportJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta10.323110.2840.4
2Dallas/Fort Worth6.71236.3845.1
3Chicago O'Hare6.65226.775-1.8
4Denver5.84845.8380.2
5Los Angeles5.72755.756-0.5
6Charlotte4.98674.7215.6
7Phoenix4.82564.8110.3
8Las Vegas4.30884.396-2.0
9Houston Bush4.25794.301-1.0
10San Francisco4.084104.0560.7

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

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Mar 2013 RankAirportMar 2013 Enplaned PassengersMar 2012 RankMar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta3.89013.911-0.6
2Chicago O'Hare2.50822.596-3.4
3Dallas/Fort Worth2.42832.3553.1
4Los Angeles2.14652.1221.1
5Denver2.14342.167-1.1
6Charlotte1.80071.7164.9
7Phoenix1.79661.802-0.3
8Las Vegas1.61481.6050.5
9Houston Bush1.56891.572-0.3
10San Francisco1.530111.4813.3

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
Mar 2012Mar 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)56.256.60.6149.7150.10.3
Flights (in thousands)728.6709.5-2.62,053.61,978.3-3.7
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)49.750.61.8131.8133.71.4
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)58.859.51.1163.5163.60.0
Load Factor*84.585.00.580.681.71.1
Flight Stage Length**648.0664.42.5641.6656.82.4
Passenger Trip Length***884.2894.41.2880.5890.51.1

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
January46.347.11.747.81.5
February43.746.46.445.7-1.5
March55.656.21.056.60.6
April52.953.71.6  
May56.055.7-0.4  
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  
3 Mo. Total145.6149.72.8150.10.3
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-March 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankCarrierJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Southwest*26.188125.9660.9
2Delta22.191221.2344.5
3American15.691415.6650.2
4United15.345315.855-3.2
5US Airways12.146511.7083.7
6ExpressJet6.81566.6772.1
7JetBlue6.24275.9145.5
8SkyWest6.13085.6298.9
9AirTran4.12894.907-15.9
10Alaska4.046113.7627.5

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

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

March 2013 RankCarrierMarch 2013 Enplaned PassengersMarch 2012 RankMarch 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Southwest*10.24819.7465.2
2Delta8.59528.2284.5
3United5.70435.952-4.2
4American5.67345.800-2.2
5US Airways4.39954.2353.9
6ExpressJet2.60762.5163.6
7JetBlue2.34972.2195.8
8SkyWest2.26582.1127.3
9AirTran1.62691.883-13.7
10Alaska1.501111.3937.7

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-March 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankAirportJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta9.35919.3260.4
2Dallas/Fort Worth6.12035.8424.7
3Chicago O'Hare6.01126.132-2.0
4Denver5.68145.6720.2
5Los Angeles5.27455.282-0.2
6Charlotte4.66174.4065.8
7Phoenix4.61864.6020.4
8Las Vegas4.30484.392-2.0
9Orlando3.84993.940-2.3
10San Francisco3.695103.6750.5

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 March 2013 Domestic Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in millions (000,000)

Mar 2013 RankAirportMar 2013 Enplaned PassengersMar 2012 RankMar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Atlanta3.52413.550-0.7
2Chicago O'Hare2.25822.349-3.9
3Dallas/Fort Worth2.21332.1572.6
4Denver2.07842.102-1.1
5Los Angeles1.97751.9501.4
6Phoenix1.72461.727-0.2
7Charlotte1.67281.5895.2
8Las Vegas1.61371.6040.5
9Orlando1.46091.471-0.7
10San Francisco1.388101.3433.3

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
Mar 2012Mar 2013Change %20122013Change %
Passengers (in millions)8.38.53.322.322.82.2
Flights (in thousands)75.175.40.4211.2209.9-0.6
Revenue Passenger Miles (in billions)21.121.62.257.558.51.6
Available Seat-Miles (in billions)26.426.1-1.175.573.9-2.1
Load Factor*79.982.82.976.279.23.0
Flight Stage Length**1,780.91,759.1-1.21,797.01,776.4-1.1
Passenger Trip Length***2,554.72,527.7-1.12,576.32,561.9-0.6

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
April7.77.81.7  
May7.97.90.7  
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  
3 Mo. Total21.722.32.722.82.2
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-March 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankCarrierJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1United5,842.715,906.2-1.1
2American5,191.725,126.31.3
3Delta4,820.534,742.71.6
4US Airways1,661.441,577.45.3
5JetBlue1,045.85933.712.0
6ExpressJet692.76619.211.9
7Alaska480.77502.8-4.4
8American Eagle421.19297.341.6
9AirTran*397.111281.641.0
10SkyWest340.610292.516.4

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 March 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Mar 2013 RankCarrierMar 2013 Enplaned PassengersMar 2012 RankMar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1United2,203.412,190.90.6
2American1,872.531,805.73.7
3Delta1,845.621,810.02.0
4US Airways634.34611.53.7
5JetBlue393.05344.314.2
6ExpressJet249.26234.96.1
7Alaska176.77182.8-3.3
8AirTran*164.89105.955.6
9American Eagle152.48114.433.2
10SkyWest127.710105.820.7

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-March 2012 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Jan-Mar 2013 RankAirportJan-Mar 2013 Enplaned PassengersJan-Mar 2012 RankJan-Mar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Miami1,444.611,441.80.2
2New York JFK1,061.921,034.72.6
3Atlanta964.13958.50.6
4Newark905.34920.5-1.7
5Houston Bush811.15811.10.0
6Chicago O'Hare641.06643.6-0.4
7Dallas/Fort Worth592.67541.49.5
8Los Angeles453.18474.0-4.4
9San Francisco389.19380.62.2
10Philadelphia375.010355.65.4

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 March 2013 International Scheduled Enplanements on U.S. Airlines*

Passenger numbers in thousands (000)

Mar 2013 RankAirportMar 2013 Enplaned PassengersMar 2012 RankMar 2012 Enplaned PassengersPct. Change 2012-2013
1Miami496.81486.12.2
2New York JFK409.82396.73.3
3Atlanta365.73360.91.3
4Newark346.44348.5-0.6
5Houston Bush306.05296.43.2
6Chicago O'Hare250.86247.11.5
7Dallas/Fort Worth214.17198.28.1
8Los Angeles169.18172.0-1.7
9Philadelphia145.89145.20.4
10San Francisco142.310137.53.5

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.

Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017