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 18,010.68 -115.44 -0.64%
Nasdaq 5,070.03 -27.95 -0.55%
S&P 500 2,107.39 -13.40 -0.63%
Treasuries 2.09 -0.04 -1.64%
Data as of 6:59pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.50 -0.17 -1.02%
Apple Inc 130.28 -1.50 -1.14%
Pfizer Inc 34.75 0.31 0.90%
Intel Corp 34.46 0.45 1.32%
General Electric Co 27.27 -0.36 -1.30%
Data as of May 29
Sponsors

Sections

Ed Gilligan spent his entire 35-year career with American Express, starting as an intern ad rising to one of the highest executive posts at the bank. More

The U.S. economy lost ground in the first quarter, but it is already showing signs of life. More

Brit Morin is a DIY queen. Her startup Brit + Co. inspires women and girls to be creative -- and just raised $23 million in funding. More