ATA: Domestic traffic down for Sept., year

Mainline air traffic for the major U.S. carriers is still lagging, according to data for September and the first three quarters of the year compiled by the Air Transport Association.

The ATA reported that domestic traffic, measured by revenue passenger miles, fell 1.5% in September from the same month a year ago, while available capacity dropped 1.2%. The total passenger headcount came to 36.6 million, down nearly 2% from the same month a year ago.

For the year to date, domestic traffic is down 0.8% on a capacity reduction of 3.2%, and total enplanements are down 2.3%, the ATA said.

For good news on the traffic-growth front, airlines must look to international markets.

According to the ATA, international traffic for the major U.S. carriers was up 4.5% in September on a capacity increase of 4.4%. Passenger enplanements grew 4.2%

For the nine-month period, international traffic is up 5.1% on a 4.5% boost in capacity, and the international passenger headcount is up 5.3%, the ATA said.

The growth in international markets is still a little lopsided, however, with transatlantic markets seeing more capacity and traffic growth than Latin American markets, and the Pacific running a distant third. Thats the case for September as well as for the year to date.

In September, U.S. airline traffic grew 6.5% in transatlantic markets, 4.7% in Latin American markets and 1% over the Pacific.

For the nine-month period, the traffic growth rates were 6.6%, 6% and 2.2%, respectively.

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