Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

2009 airline revenue: Worst drop ever

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The airline industry suffered its largest drop ever in passenger revenue last year as a weak economy grounded many would-be travelers, an industry group said Wednesday.

The Air Transport Association of America said total passenger revenue for the major U.S. carriers fell 18% in 2009 versus the year before. It was the largest drop on record, exceeding the 14% decline in 2001.

The revenue decline was due to a 6% drop in passenger volume, and a 13% plunge in the average price paid to fly one mile, the ATA said.

"The global recession, accompanied by high levels of unemployment, hit air travel demand especially hard in 2009," said James May, ATA chief executive and president, in a statement.

But the outlook for the current year is a bit brighter. "Anecdotal evidence suggests a positive revenue trajectory in 2010," May added.

Still, he warned that the airline industry remains vulnerable. "We are seeing higher fuel prices as well, which could hinder recovery efforts," May said.

For December, passenger revenue was down 4% versus the month before. It was the 14th consecutive month of declining sales, as traffic fell 3% in the month.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 21,580.07 -31.71 -0.15%
Nasdaq 6,387.75 -2.25 -0.04%
S&P 500 2,472.54 -0.91 -0.04%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.03 -1.50%
Data as of 9:00pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 25.91 -0.78 -2.92%
Bank of America Corp... 23.80 -0.14 -0.58%
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.88 0.08 0.58%
Microsoft Corp 73.79 -0.43 -0.58%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 4.69 -0.15 -3.10%
Data as of Jul 21
Sponsors

Sections

The Congressional Budget Office narrows its projection for when Treasury will run short on money if Congress doesn't raise or suspend the country's debt ceiling. More

The newly revamped Citi Prestige card offers 75,000 sign up points and a fourth night free at hotels. But you have to spend $7,500 in the first three months to get the offer. More