US airlines to hit record international summer travelers in 2013

16 May 2013 17:32  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--More people will fly this summer than in 2012 and a record number of passengers will fly internationally this summer, an airline industry association said on Thursday.

US airlines will carry close to 209m passengers globally from June through August, an increase of 1% from the same period in 2012, according to Airlines for America (A4A). The estimate includes 27m international passengers, which is a record number for US airlines.

In comparison, this is the largest summer volume for US airlines since 2008 when more than 210m passengers travelled during the summer. The all-time high was recorded in 2007, when the number hit more than 217m, the A4A said in its annual forecast.

A4A attributed the uptick to rising household net worth and corporate profits, strong airline operational performance and recent relief in energy prices.

However, the recent drop in energy prices may not translate to lower airline ticket prices for consumers.

According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the average domestic airfare cost in the fourth quarter of 2012 was just $1 lower year on year at $374 (€292).

And in the first quarter of this year, the 10 publicly traded US passenger airlines (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United and US Airways) all reported operating costs as an ongoing challenge, with jet fuel costs as the largest single expense.

In 2012, jet fuel expenses totalled $50bn for the second consecutive year despite airlines using half a billion fewer gallons than in 2011, according to A4A.

On 15 May, Delta Air Lines initiated the seventh domestic airfare hike attempt in 2013 of up to $10 roundtrip across a significant portion of their domestic route system, according to FareCompare.

So far, the price hike has not been matched by any other airline.

Only three airfare hike attempts out of seven have been successful in 2013. Two of those were initiated by Delta.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Anna Matherne

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