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

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,288.63 155.93 0.86%
Nasdaq 5,008.10 44.57 0.90%
S&P 500 2,117.39 12.89 0.61%
Treasuries 2.08 0.08 4.10%
Data as of 7:44pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 129.09 0.63 0.49%
Cisco Systems Inc 30.19 0.68 2.30%
Bank of America Corp... 16.01 0.20 1.27%
Microsoft Corp 43.88 0.03 0.07%
Intel Corp 34.06 0.81 2.44%
Data as of 4:00pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Guinness owner says inclusion of an LGBT group in this year's parade is reason to resume its sponsorship, though some gay rights groups are still protesting the parade's policies. More

Remember Pets.com? The Nasdaq is roaring back towards its all-time high. Here are some of the biggest dot-com busts from the last time the Nasdaq topped 5,000. More

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand benefits offered by the college savings plans to include coverage of expenses like computers and Internet access, among other things. And there is bipartisan support for it in the Senate, too. More