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January 2020 U.S. Airline Traffic Data (Preliminary)

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

U.S. airlines carried 5.6% more scheduled service passengers in January 2020 than in January 2019, according to preliminary data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the 25 airlines that carry the most passengers.

The 25 airlines carry 99% of the total passengers traveling on U.S. airlines.

January 2020 passenger numbers for 25 carriers with the most passengers:

  • Total: 70.5 million passengers in January 2020, up 5.6% from January 2019 (66.7M)
  • Domestic: 61.4 million passengers in January 2020, up 6.2% from January 2019 (57.8M)
  • International: 9.13 million passengers in January 2020, up 2.0% from January 2019 (8.95M)

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final January data will be released on April 16.  Complete international data by origin and destination will be released on July 16.

President Trump issued an order on Jan. 31 restricting travel to the U.S. from China.  He issued an additional order on March 11 restricting travel to the U.S. from certain European countries.

Systemwide Passengers

January 2020 would be the 28th consecutive month of increases in U.S. airlines passengers from the same month of the previous year dating back to October 2017. The 5.6% increase in passengers from January 2019 would be smaller than the 8.8% increase from December 2018 to December 2019. It would be larger than the 0.5% rise from November 2018 to November 2019.

Table 1: Percent Change in US Airlines Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2017-2020 Year-to-Year Percent Change

2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
January* 3.0 2.9 4.0 5.6
February -0.2 5.7 3.0
March 3.4 4.6 5.1
April 4.5 4.8 3.8
May 3.0 4.9 5.2
June 3.4 5.0 3.7
July 3.8 5.2 3.6
August 5.0 5.0 3.4
September -2.3 5.8 5.7
October 4.6 3.9 4.1
November 4.6 4.5 0.5
December 3.5 3.6 8.8
Annual 3.1 4.7 4.2

Notes: 

* January 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-1

Domestic Passengers

January 2020 would be the 28th consecutive month of increases in U.S. airlines domestic passengers from the same month of the previous year dating back to October 2017. The 6.2% increase in passengers from January 2019 would be smaller than the 9.5% increase from December 2018 to December 2019. It would be larger than the 0.2% rise from November 2018 to November 2019.

Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in US Airlines Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2017-2020 Year-to-Year Percent Change

2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
January* 3.1 3.2 3.9 6.2
February -0.1 5.9 3.0
March 3.8 4.2 5.4
April 3.7 5.7 3.7
May 2.7 5.3 5.2
June 3.1 5.3 3.6
July 3.7 5.8 3.8
August 5.0 5.5 3.4
September -2.5 5.8 5.8
October 4.7 3.8 4.2
November 4.5 4.4 0.2
December 3.7 3.7 9.5
Annual 3.0 4.9 4.3

Notes: 

* January 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-1

International Passengers

January 2020 would be the 28th consecutive month of increases in U.S. airlines international passengers from the same month of the previous year dating back to October 2017. The 2.0% increase in passengers from January 2019 would be the smallest year-to-year increase since August 2018 (2.0%). It would be smaller than the 3.6% increase from December 2018 to December 2019and the 2.2% rise from November 2018 to November 2019.

Table 3: International Percent Change in US Airlines Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2017-2020 Year-to-Year Percent Change

2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
January* 2.1 1.0 4.5 2.0
February -1.2 4.6 3.4
March 0.4 7.2 3.4
April 9.8 -1.0 4.6
May 5.4 2.3 5.6
June 5.3 3.4 4.2
July 4.6 1.6 2.2
August 4.9 2.0 3.9
September -1.1 5.9 4.6
October 3.2 4.3 3.2
November 5.4 4.7 2.2
December 1.7 3.2 3.6
Annual 3.5 3.1 3.8

Notes: 

* January 2020 data is preliminary

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

Reported Preliminary Numbers Compared to BTS Estimates

The 25 U.S. airlines carrying the most passengers reported 5.6% more systemwide passengers in January 2020 than in January 2019, compared to the BTS estimate based on data reported through December 2019 of 5.9%. For domestic flights, the 25 airlines’ reported numbers were a 6.2% increase compared to the BTS estimate of 6.5%. For international flights, the 25 airlines’ reported numbers were a 2.0% increase compared to the BTS estimate of 2.1%.

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