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Airline Passenger Traffic Continues to Increase In the United States

Published Nov 5, 2010 on Pilot Jobs

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Passengers flying with the airlines in the United States continue to increase in number, especially among those flying on the “low cost” carriers. These increases fuel expansion for the airline industry, which will have to increase the number of aircraft that they fly to meet the increasing demand for air travel.


Southwest Airlines, reported on Friday that its total October traffic increased 8.3% compared to the same month a year ago. Southwest’s passenger traffic rose to more than 6.85 billion revenue passenger miles compared to 6.33 billion revenue passenger miles a year ago. A revenue passenger mile (RPM) is a unit of paying passenger traffic that airlines use to measure cost efficiency. An RPM is equal to one paying passenger (compared to passengers who aren’t paying for their seats…such as airline employees) who is flown for one mile.

Southwest’s total October seating capacity rose 5% to 8.39 billion available seat miles from a year ago. Load factor, or the percentage of available seats filled with passengers, in October rose to 81.7% from 79.2% last year.

AirTran Airways set new monthly records for several airline industry metrics for revenue passenger miles, available seat miles, load factor and enplanements during the month of October. AirTran’s passenger traffic grew by 4.3 percent to 1.56 billion revenue passenger miles, up from 1.5 billion in October 2009.

AirTran’s load factor of 82.4 percent increased by 3 percentage points from October 2009. AirTran boarded more than 2 million passengers last month, a 3.9 percent increase from the same month one year ago.

Frontier Airlines said that its passenger traffic in October rose 4 percent from a year ago and it flew much fuller planes. Frontier, a unit of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., said paying passengers flew 1.02 billion miles last month, up from 982 million miles in October 2009.

Frontier’s number of available seats rose 2 percent as its average seat occupancy rose to 83 percent from 81 percent a year ago, the eighth straight monthly record for the airline.

Allegiant Airlines also reported preliminary passenger traffic results for October 2010 increased by 20.7%.

Alaska Airlines said that its traffic increased 15.9 percent, driving the occupancy on its planes higher.

Alaska Airlines reported flying 1.69 billion revenue passenger miles for October, up from almost 1.46 billion revenue passenger miles a year earlier.

Passenger traffic for US Airlines are forecast to continue to increase at this rate for the next two decades, spurring growth in the airline industry and increasing the demand for qualified airline pilots into the foreseeable future.

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