Airline Passenger Traffic Levels Continue to Increase for US Legacy Airlines and Low-cost Carriers

The Airline Industry in the United States, both Legacy Airlines and Low-cost Airlines alike, are reporting higher December traffic for the year 2010. Traffic
figures just released justify the Carrier’s collective optimism for continued
growth ahead.


The majority of the airlines reported a continued upturn in important measurements of their performance, such as traffic (the number of passengers flying on the airline), capacity (the number of seats available) and load factor (percentage of the available seats that are being occupied by paying passengers).

Southwest Airlines traffic rose 11.3% in December compared to a year ago. Capacity increased by 5.6%, and its load factor for December 2010 was 80.4% vs. 76.2% a year ago.

Southwest’s annual traffic figures for the year 2010 increased 4.8% compared to traffic figures for 2009. Southwest flew more than 106.2 million passengers in 2010.

American Airlines reported that its December 2010 traffic
increased 1.8% while the number of seats offered by American also expanded by 1.8%.
American’s domestic traffic rose 0.5% compared to last year, while their international
traffic increased 3.9%.

American’s annual traffic figures for 2010 also increased, it rose 2.5% compared to 2009. American Airlines expanded its capacity by 1% system-wide and flew 86.1 million passengers for the year, and increase of 0.5%.

AirTran Airways’ traffic increased 5.3% in 2010 over last year to over 24 million passengers riding the low-cost carrier. AirTran’s December 2010 traffic rose 2.7% compared to figures from December of last year. Both of these figures are all-time records for the AirTran, the carrier’s executives report.

Delta Air Lines said that its traffic in December increased 2.4% from a year ago on a 3.9% jump in capacity. Delta’s international traffic was 5.3% higher, outpacing domestic traffic, which grew 0.5%.

For 2010, Delta’s passenger traffic rose 2.2%, as Delta expanded its available seats by 1%. About 162.6 million passengers flew on Delta last year.

US Airways’ passenger traffic increased by 5.7% compared to December 2009 figures. Its available seats increased by 3.7% and US Airways’ passengers filled 80.8% of those seats, which is a record for the month of December for US Airways.

For 2010, US Airways’ traffic grew 1.9%, largely due to a spike if its Latin American business, which grew an impressive 20.3% compared to last year.

US Airways’ expanded its capacity for the year 1.2% as it cut domestic flights while padding its Latin American routes. It flew 51.8 million passengers last year, up 1.6%.

It is anticipated that the Airlines will continue to expand as customer demand continues to increase, adding additional seats in the form of additional aircraft and increasing the need for additional pilots as a result. New crew members are being hired at most
Regional Airlines now
, with hiring either taking place now or being
anticipated at the Legacy and Low-cost Carriers this year.