Traffic and fare data by airline and route can provide valuable insights into market trends, demand, and competition. By analyzing this data, airlines can optimize their pricing strategies, plan their capacity, and make informed decisions about their route network. The data can also be used for market and competitive analysis, helping airlines identify profitable routes and gain a competitive advantage.
According to preliminary true O&D level data released by FlightBI this week, the air traffic from December 2022 to January 2023 saw a decline, and the average airfare showed a slight decrease. Specifically, US domestic passenger volume decreased by 8%, and the average domestic airfare decreased by 3%.
According to the true O&D data, US domestic traffic witnessed a decrease from 46.8 million passengers in December to 43.1 million in January 2023, which is lower than the pre-pandemic level of 44.6 million in January 2020. Additionally, US international traffic also decreased from 17.7 million in December to 16.4 million in January.
Figure 1: US Domestic and International Air Traffic by Month
The average domestic gross fare for air travel decreased from $220 in December to $213 in January, and the average net fare also decreased from $190 to $184 over the same period.
Figure 2: US Domestic Average Airfare by Month
The average airfare decreased slightly because January is a weak season for air travel. The correlation relationship between airfare and jet fuel price in this period is not strong. As depicted in the chart below provided by EIA, the price of jet fuel increased from December 2022 to January 2023, but it saw a significant drop towards the end of January,
Figure 3: US Jet Fuel Price
Load Factor Trend
In January, the average load factor dropped to 71.4%, indicating a decline in the number of passengers per flight. As depicted in Figure 4 below, this decrease in the load factor was primarily due to traffic slowdown. Southwest Airlines continues to face challenges due to the scheduling crisis in December 2022, as many travelers have been hesitant to book flights with the airline.
Figure 4: US Airlines’ Average Load Factor by Month
Month Over Month Comparison
During the period from December 2022 to January 2023, several low-cost carriers, including Allegiant (G4), JetBlue (B6), and Frontier (F9), witnessed a significant drop in traffic. Meanwhile, Southwest’s traffic was already impacted by its massive flight cancellations in December, and as a result, the decrease in traffic from December to January was not very obvious. The big three traditional airlines – American(AA), Delta(DL) and United(UA) also experienced a decrease in traffic during this period.
Figure 5: Air Traffic by Dominant Marketing Airlines in January 2023 (Current) vs. December 2022 (Previous)
In January 2023, most top airports saw a decline in traffic compared to December 2022. However, three leisure destinations, including Orlando (MCO), Las Vegas (LAS), and Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), experienced a very small growth in traffic during this period. Conversely, Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO) had the largest decrease in traffic.
Figure 6: Air Traffic by Top Origin Airports in January 2023 (Current) vs. December 2022 (Previous)
Year Over Year Comparison
Compared to the same month last year, all major US airlines witnessed positive growth in January 2023. Among them, United (UA), Alaska (AS), and Delta (DL) achieved the highest year-over-year growth rate of 44.3%, 37.8%, and 30.4%, respectively, leading the growth among major US airlines.
Figure 7: Air Traffic by Dominant Marketing Airlines in January 2023 (Current) vs. January 2022 (Previous)
The growth of top airports from January 2022 to January 2023 has been very impressive, with all top airports achieving double-digit growth. Among them, San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Atlanta (ATL) airports led the year-over-year growth, with 68.2%, 52.8%, and 48.8%, respectively.
Figure 8: Air Traffic by Top Origin Airport in January 2023 (Current) vs. January 2022 (Previous)
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