Passenger demand fell in April despite lower fares: ATA

Washington DC
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US airline lobbying group the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) today reported that the number of passengers travelling on US carriers in April fell 6.3% year-over-year despite declining ticket prices.

Reductions extended beyond the mainland United States to the transatlantic, transpacific and Latin American markets, says the ATA.

The decline represents a slight slowdown from March results, which showed a 10% year-over-year drop. However, this may be due to Easter falling in April this year versus March last year.

US airline passenger revenue tumbled 18% in April versus the same period in 2008, marking the sixth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year, says the ATA.

In addition to softening passenger demand, US operators saw cargo traffic decrease 21% year-over-year in March 2009, the latest figures available.

March results mirrored the decline measured in January and February and marked the eighth consecutive month of faltering cargo traffic. Notably, cargo traffic in the Pacific region fell 28%.

ATA does not expect improvements during the summer, normally the peak travel season.

The trade group estimates 171 million passengers will fly in US markets between 1 June and 31 August, a 7% reduction from the 183 million who flew domestically last summer.

ATA also projects a 6% decline in passengers flying US carriers on international routes.