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September 27, 2011


U.S. air travel abroad totaled 37.4 million in 2010

Change in Methodology Creates New Baseline

The U.S. Department of Commerce released revised U.S. citizen outbound non-stop air passenger traffic data for 2010. U.S. air travel abroad totaled 37.4 million in 2010. As cited in the November 15, 2010 OTTI TINews (1) release, the source used for reporting U.S. International Air Travel Statistics changed in July 2010 from the paper-based manually processed DHS I-92 form to the paperless automated Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).

From the 1970's through June 2010, DHS I-92 source data were based on manual recordkeeping through the method of paper documents (DHS I-92 Aircraft/Vessel Report). However, starting in July 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moved away from the paper-based system to an electronic record system called APIS.

With APIS, data integrity improves due to the elimination of manual data entry and the inclusion of flights not previously picked up through manual processing. Also, the method of tabulating U.S. citizens and non-citizens changes from imputation to direct count from the automated source records. There will be timelier reporting with a significant reduction in lag time between releases. Also, for the first time, beginning in 2011, Canadian market flights will be captured.

DHS/Customs and Border Protection and Commerce (DOC)/International Trade Administration have jointly worked on the transition to APIS. In addition, DOC has totally re-engineered its U.S. International Air Travel Statistics reporting system.

Highlights: 2010 U.S. Citizen Air Traffic to Mexico, Canada and Overseas Regions
Cautionary Note: Comparing annual 2010 outbound data, a combination of legacy I-92 and APIS data, to annual 2009 (legacy I-92 data) is somewhat of an apples to oranges comparison based on the changes in methodology made in the second half of 2010 to APIS. Therefore, percent changes are provided below to only give a sense of magnitude.

  • U.S. outbound air passengers totaled 37.4 million in 2010, down four percent.
  • Mexico was up two percent.
  • Canada increased six percent (source data is from Stats Canada).
  • Overseas markets were down six percent.
  • The Caribbean was up three percent.
  • Europe was down seven percent.
  • Asia was down eight percent.
  • South America was down 17 percent.
  • Central America was down 11 percent.
  • The Middle East was up 11 percent.
  • Oceania was down 13 percent.
  • Africa was up two percent.

To view OTTI 2010 U.S. outbound data tables that provide monthly estimates of U.S. air travel abroad by world region and the rate of change each month and year-to-date, please visit: <https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2010-O-001/index.html>.

Currently, OTTI is processing 2011 monthly APIS data. Thank you for your patience during this time of transition.

Industry & Analysis' Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more detailed information on the U.S. international travel abroad research program, please visit: <http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i92/index.html>.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140; Fax: (202) 482-2887
Website: <www.tinet.ita.doc.gov>
Email: otti@trade.gov

(1) November 15, 2010 OTTI TINews release on U.S. International Air Travel Statistics System Re-Engineered: Source Document DHS I-92 is Now ‘Paperless' <https://travel.trade.gov/tinews/archive/tinews2010/20101115.html>.

Throughout this report, percent changes posted for U.S. air travelers for 2010 were calculated by comparing 2010 data (January-June 2010 is legacy I-92; July-December 2010 is APIS) to data in 2009 (legacy I-92).