AMERICAS: Positive signs from US carriers

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organisation for leading US airlines, has reported that, in sharp contrast to prior months, US carriers saw cargo traffic, in cargo revenue tonne km, grow seven per cent year-on-year (two per cent domestically and 11 per cent internationally) in November 2009, driven primarily by increased […]


The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organisation for leading US airlines, has reported that, in sharp contrast to prior months, US carriers saw cargo traffic, in cargo revenue tonne km, grow seven per cent year-on-year (two per cent domestically and 11 per cent internationally) in November 2009, driven primarily by increased international trade. This was the first observed increase in cargo traffic since July 2008. December 2009 cargo data is not available at time of printing.

Passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers, fell four per cent in December 2009 versus the same month in 2008, marking the 14th consecutive month in which passenger revenue declined from the prior year due to the combination of continued reduced passenger traffic and lower average ticket prices.

“The global recession, accompanied by high levels of unemployment, hit air travel demand especially hard in 2009 but the declines appear to be bottoming out. Anecdotal evidence suggests a positive revenue trajectory in 2010,” said ATA president and CEO James C. May.

“However, we are seeing higher fuel prices as well, which could hinder recovery efforts,” May said. Last week, ATA applauded the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for its action to protect consumers and the fragile economy from reckless oil speculation, and continues to encourage congressional action to give CFTC the authority to remove trading loopholes.