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

December 9, 2015

October 2015 YTD U.S. - International Air Passenger Traffic up Six Percent

Total International Traffic up Nine Percent in October
Asia up 11 Percent, Mexico 23 Percent and Middle East up 15 Percent for the Month
China Arrivals up 21 Percent in October

U.S. International Air Traffic

International non-stop air traffic to/from the U.S.(1) totaled 176.0 million passengers through October 2015, a six percent increase over the October 2014 year-to-date period.

U.S. citizen travel (79.4 million) was up eight percent and composed 45 percent of all air traffic. Non-U.S. citizen air travelers (96.6 million) increased by four percent with their market share at 55 percent.

U.S. airlines carried 88.3 million passengers, up two percent, with their share slightly above 50 percent. Foreign flags carried 87.7 million passengers, up 10 percent from same period 2014.

International Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 79.364 7.6% 45.1% 0.8
   Non-U.S. Citizens 96.608 4.3% 54.9% -0.8
   U.S. Flag Carriers (3) 88.251 2.2% 50.2% -1.7
   Foreign Flag Carriers 87.721 9.6% 49.8% 1.7

The following, overseas, Canada and Mexico regions are ‘breakouts’ of international:

Overseas air traffic accounted for 130.5 million passengers, 74 percent of all international, and grew by five percent.

U.S. citizen travel (58.5 million) was up six percent composing 45 percent of overseas air traffic. Non-U.S. citizen air travelers (72.1 million) were up by five percent with their market share at 55 percent.

U.S. airlines carried 62.6 million passengers, up two percent, their share at 48 percent. Foreign flags carried 68.0 million passengers, up eight percent from October 2014 YTD.

Overseas Regions Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 58.450 6.0% 44.8% 0.3
   Non-U.S. Citizens 72.021 4.7% 55.2% -0.3
   U.S. Flag Carriers 62.572 2.0% 47.9% -1.6
   Foreign Flag Carriers 67.959 8.4% 52.1% 1.6

Overseas regions performed as follows:

Overseas Regions Passengers (mlns) % of all
% Change
2015 / 2014 YTD
   Europe    51.228    29%    4.0%
   Asia    26.254    15%    5.9%
   Caribbean    18.613    11%    6.3%
   South America    12.760    7%    2.7%
   Central America    8.857    5%    2.4%
   Middle East    7.847    4%    17.8%
   Oceania    3.862    2%    5.5%
   Africa    1.111    1%    -5.0%

China to U.S. 'Air Arrivals' (2) for October 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 152,979 88,935 241,914 68.6%
   % Chg. Oct YOY 21.3% 21.5% 21.4% -2.3 pct. pts

Estimated capacity (352,879 seats) on non-stop flights from PRC was up 25.5 percent in October, exceeding total inbound non-stop market passenger growth of 21.4 percent.

Chinese carriers increased average weekly frequencies from 107 to 151, up 41 percent.
U.S. carriers increased average weekly frequencies from 114 to 131, up 15 percent

Gulf Carrier Air Traffic to/from the U.S. - October 2015 YTD

Passengers (mlns) % Chg. y-o-y
Emirates (EK) 2.521 33.4% (to/from Dubai (DXB); limited service from Milan (MXP)
Qatar (QR) 1.051 34.6% (to/from Doha (DOH))
Etihad (EY) 0.971 43.4% (to/from Abu Dhabi (AUH))


The Gulf carrier passenger share was 2.6% of all international passenger traffic to/from the U.S., up from 2.1% during October 2014YTD. Over 2.4 million passengers were inbound to the U.S. of which 1.4 million were foreign travelers.

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

Canadian air traffic accounted for 23.8 million passengers, almost 14 percent of all international traffic, and increased by three percent.

U.S. citizen travel (7.1 million) increased nine percent and comprised 30 percent of air traffic. Canadian, and other foreign national citizen air travelers transiting through Canada (16.7 million), increased by almost one percent. Market share was 70 percent.

U.S. flags carried 10.0 million passengers, down four percent from last year, with their share at 42 percent. Foreign flags carried 13.8 million passengers, up nine percent.

Canadian Region Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 7.149 8.6% 30.0% 1.5
   Non-U.S. Citizens 16.675 0.7% 70.0% -1.5
   U.S. Flag Carriers 10.007 -4.4% 42.0% -3.3
   Foreign Flag Carriers 13.816 9.1% 58.0% 3.3

Mexico air traffic accounted for 21.6 million passengers, 12 percent of all international traffic, and was up 12 percent.

U.S. citizen travel (13.8 million) increased 15 percent and composed 64 percent of air traffic. Mexicans, and other foreign national air travelers (7.9 million) transiting through Mexico, increased by eight percent, with market share 36 percent.

U.S. flags carried 15.7 million passengers, up eight percent from last year, but their share slipped to 73 percent. Foreign flags carried 5.9 million passengers, up 26 percent increasing share to 28 percent.

Mexican Region Passengers (mlns) % Chg y-o-y Market Share % Pt. chg.
   U.S. Citizens 13.765 14.5% 63.7% 1.3
   Non-U.S. Citizens 7.852 8.4% 36.3% -1.3
   U.S. Flag Carriers 15.671 7.7% 72.5% -3.0
   Foreign Flag Carriers 5.946 26.1% 27.5% 3.0

October 2015 Year-to-Date

Top 10 Foreign Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.):
69.0 million Passengers, 39% of Total International Air Traffic


Top 10 U.S. Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From Foreign Airports):
122.0 million Passengers, 69% of Total Air Traffic


Top 10 Airlines (3) Serving U.S. International Non-Stop Markets:
98.7 million Passengers, 56% of Total Air Traffic
American Airlines and US Airways operated as AA on10/17/15

Later this month NTTO will publish the October 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, September: 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.