The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published airport-level passenger throughput up to Oct. 1, 2022. Let’s check the US air traffic status in September. Please refer to this article about how we choose specific airports as representatives for US domestic, international, leisure, and business markets.
U.S. Overall Air Traffic Status
As shown in Figure 1, the overall US air traffic fluctuated initially, increased in the middle, and then dropped at the end of September. The gap between the current year and the pre-pandemic level has shrunk to zero and expanded again because of Hurricane Ian. We expect the overall traffic in the rest of 2022 will be higher than the 2021 level but still below the 2019 level.
Figure 1: US Overall Air Traffic Trend
Domestic Air Traffic Indicator
Figure 2 is the U.S. domestic air traffic indicator. Domestic air traffic in September was strong. We expect that it will keep the momentum as the fuel price falls.
Figure 2: US Domestic Air Traffic Indicator
International Air Traffic Indicator
Figure 3 is an indicator of US international traffic. The COVID recovery of international air traffic seems to reach a limit. The 2022 line in September followed the same trend in 2019. We expect that the international traffic keeps flat before December. it keeps that way after a slight decrease when the summer season is wrapped up.
Figure 3: US International Air Traffic Indicator
Leisure Air Traffic Indicator
As shown in Figure 4, the leisure air market grew slightly in September but dropped abruptly at the end. That’s because the Orlando airport (MCO) was shut down because of Hurricane Ian. We believe the traffic will rebound to the normal level in the next several days.
Figure 4: US Leisure Air Traffic Indicator
Business Air Traffic Indicator
As for the business traffic, Figure 5 shows that the gap between this year and 2019 has shrunk to almost zero at the beginning of September. But the gap expanded again later. For the rest of 2022, we expect the traffic will be between the 2019 level and the 2021 level.
Figure 5: US Business Air Traffic Indicator
To summarize, US air traffic is still on the right track, thanks to the recovery of business travel and international trips.