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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
Nasdaq 4,963.53 -24.36 -0.49%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
Treasuries 2.00 -0.01 -0.69%
Data as of 2:46pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.81 -0.23 -1.43%
Apple Inc 128.46 -1.96 -1.50%
General Electric Co 25.99 0.10 0.39%
Microsoft Corp 43.85 -0.20 -0.47%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 16.68 -0.52 -3.02%
Data as of Feb 27
Sponsors

Sections

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett released his 50th annual letter to shareholders. The Oracle of Omaha thinks the next 50 years will be great and knows who will replace him. More

Potential presidential candidate says that improvement in unemployment rate is due to millions of jobless not being counted. More

With the death of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Star Trek's Spock, we remember his character's legacy: The technology we use every day. More

A social media frenzy about the color of a dress is bringing fame and fortune for one small British fashion company. More

The top 5 consumer complaints have to do with identity theft, debt collectors, imposters, telephone companies and banks. More