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TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)

November 13, 2015

September 2015 YTD U.S. - International Air Passenger Traffic up Five Percent

Total International Traffic up almost Eight Percent in September
Europe up Four Percent, Asia Five Percent and Middle East 18 Percent YTD
China Air Arrivals up 27 percent in September

U.S. International Air Traffic

International non-stop air traffic to/from the U.S.(1)totaled 159.1 million passengers through September 2015, a five percent increase over the September 2014 year-to-date period.

U.S. citizen travel (72.4 million) was up seven percent and composed almost 46 percent of all air traffic. Non-U.S. citizen air travelers (86.7 million) increased by four percent with their market share at 54 percent.

U.S. airlines carried 80.2 million passengers, up two percent, with their share down to 50 percent. Foreign flags carried 78.9 million passengers, up nine percent from same period 2014.

International Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 72.370 7.1% 45.5% 0.7
   Non-U.S. Citizens 86.712 4.1% 54.2% -0.7
   U.S. Flag Carriers (3) 80.231 1.8% 50.4% -1.8
   Foreign Flag Carriers 78.851 9.4% 49.6% 1.8

The following, overseas, Canada and Mexico regions are components of international:

Overseas air traffic accounted for 117.7 million passengers, 74 percent of all international, and grew by five percent.

U.S. citizen travel (53.2 million) was up six percent comprising 45 percent of overseas air traffic. Non-U.S. citizen air travelers (64.5 million) were up by four percent with their market share at 55 percent.

U.S. airlines carried 56.9 million passengers, up two percent, their share at 48 percent. Foreign flags carried 60.9 million passengers, up eight percent from September 2014 YTD.

Overseas Regions Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 53.238 5.6% 45.2% 0.3
   Non-U.S. Citizens 64.507 4.4% 54.8% -0.3
   U.S. Flag Carriers 56.854 1.8% 48.3% -1.5
   Foreign Flag Carriers 60.890 8.1% 51.7% 1.5

Overseas regions performed as follows:

Overseas Regions Passengers (mlns) % of all
% Change
2015 / 2014 YTD
   Europe    45.768    29%    3.8%
   Asia    23.615    15%    5.4%
   Caribbean    17.171    11%    6.2%
   South America    11.478    7%    2.2%
   Central America    8.156    5%    2.1%
   Middle East*    7.091    4%    18.1%
   Oceania    3.461    2%    5.6%
   Africa    1.005    1%    -5.4%

China to U.S. 'Air Arrivals' (2) for September 2015:

  Non-U.S. Citizens
(Originating from PRC)
U.S. Citizens
(Returning to U.S.)
Total Inbound Passengers on
Non-stop Flights
Load Factor
   Passengers 223,776 80.941 304,717 86.1%
   % Chg. Sep 15/14 27.3% 20.6% 25.4% -1.8 pts

Estimated capacity (353,719 seats) on non-stop flights from PRC was up 28.0 percent in September, exceeding total inbound non-stop market passenger growth of 25.4 percent.

Chinese carriers increased average weekly frequencies from 108 to 155, up 44 percent.

U.S. carriers increased average weekly frequencies from 118 to 134, up 14 percent.

*Middle East Air Traffic to/from the U.S. - September 2015 YTD 7.091M

Passengers (mlns) % Chg. y-o-y
Middle East 7.091 18.1%

Top Markets    
U.A.E 3.242 30.2%
Turkey 1.240 14.0%
Israel 1.100 0.4%
Qatar 0.949 24.3%
'Gulf Carriers'    
Emirates (EK) 2.296 33.8% (to/from Dubai (DXB); limited service from Milan (MXP)
Etihad (EY) 0.876 43.3% (to/from Abu Dhabi (AUH))
Qatar 0.949 24.3% (to/from Doha (DOH))

  4.122 < 2.6% of all international passenger traffic to/from the U.S., up from 2.0% Sept 2014YTD

North American markets accounted for 26 percent of U.S. international air traffic flows:

Canadian air traffic accounted for 21.6 million passengers, 14 percent of all international traffic, and increased by three percent.

U.S. citizen travel (6.5 million) increased nine percent and composed 30 percent of air traffic. Canadian, and other foreign national citizen air travelers transiting through Canada (15.1 million), increased by one percent. Market share was at 70 percent.

U.S. flags carried 9.0 million passengers, down four percent from last year, with their share dropping to 42 percent. Foreign flags carried 12.5 million passengers, up nine percent.

Canada Region Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 6.460 8.6% 30.0% 1.6
   Non-U.S. Citizens 15.102 0.9% 70.0% -1.6
   U.S. Flag Carriers 9.014 -4.4% 41.8% -3.3
   Foreign Flag Carriers 12.549 9.3% 58.2% 3.3

Mexico air traffic accounted for 19.8 million passengers, 12 percent of all international traffic, and was up 11 percent.

U.S. citizen travel (12.7 million) increased 13 percent and composed 64 percent of air traffic. Mexicans, and other foreign national air travelers (7.1 million) transiting through Mexico, increased by eight percent, with market share 36 percent.

U.S. flags carried 14.4 million passengers, up six percent from last year, and their share slipped to 73 percent. Foreign flags carried 5.4 million passengers, up 27 percent increasing share to 24 percent.

Mexican Region Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 12.672 13.0% 64.1% 1.0
   Non-U.S. Citizens 7.103 8.3% 35.9% -1.0
   U.S. Flag Carriers 14.363 6.4% 72.6% -3.4
   Foreign Flag Carriers 5.412 27.0% 27.4% 3.4

September 2015 Year-to-Date

Top 10 Foreign Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.):
62.2 million Passengers, 39% of Total International Air Traffic
[Detail to be posted]

Top 10 U.S. Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From Foreign Airports):
110.2 million Passengers, 69% of Total Air Traffic
[Detail to be posted]

Top 10 Airlines (3) Serving U.S. International Non-Stop Markets:
89.5 million Passengers, 56% of Total Air Traffic
[Detail to be posted]


Monthly % changes:

January 2015 traffic up 5.4 percent; February, up 5.8 percent; March, up 4.5 percent; April, up 3.5 percent; May, up 5.1 percent; June, up 5.0 percent; July, up 6.5 percent; August, up 5.6 percent and September up 7.5 percent.(see graph at top)

NTTO will subsequently publish the September U.S. Citizen Outbound, all mode travel, as the aggregate Canadian and Mexican departure data is received from Stats Canada and Banco de Mexico, respectively. (U.S. Citizen outbound is a component in the estimation of U.S. travel ‘imports’.) For current 2015, August: https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2015-O-001/index.html

A description of the “APIS” program: https://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/i92/index.html includes subscription prices for detail reports in excel and adobe.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 10003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140
Website: https://travel.trade.gov/
Email: ntto@trade.gov

(1) These reflect non-stop air passenger -only data which derive from airline flight manifests of all ‘on-boards.’ Although these numbers include ‘visitors,’ according to UN WTO definitions, air traffic also includes transits, immigrants and other non-visitor visa types. A portion of the non-stop passenger traffic to i.e., Europe will not visit Europe, but will connect through one of Europe’s airline hubs (LHR, AMS, FRA, CDG, MAD, etc.) to Africa and the Middle East. Also, some traffic to the Middle East will connect through the U.A.E. The adjustment to these regions, reflecting visitation (1+ nights), occurs after year-end data is compiled via the Survey of International Air Travelers.

(2) Non-stop air arrivals from China (PRC). Non-U.S. citizens assumed to be mostly Chinese citizens. All inbound from China, including U.S. citizens returning, compared to available seats (DIIO/Innovata) to estimate load factor.
Note: PRC travelers also connect via Asian hubs or Canada when traveling to U.S.

(3) Numbers for U.S. carriers varies from what has been reported by Airlines for America. A4A reported mainline numbers for most of their member carriers. A4A includes Canada in Domestic. The DHS-I92/APIS data includes all carriers with international service to/from the U.S. including regional carriers, both affiliated and non-affiliated, and general aviation. The I-92APIS, however is not inclusive of Pacific inter-port or other ‘beyond’ traffic

Performance metrics reported are:

  • Total international air travel (arrivals + departures),
  • U.S. citizen and foreign citizen air travelers,
  • U.S. flag and foreign flag carriers,
  • Top U.S. and foreign airports.