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US arlines cautious as domestic capacity shrinks and international increases


US carriers continue to be cautious in their capacity growth plans for 2011 as they focus on the protection of yields as escalating fuel costs threaten the US (and global) aviation industry’s profits. [2426 words]

Unlock the following content in this report:


  • Domestic capacity declining while international capacity reports boost
  • Double-digit growth at Southwest and JetBlue, slower at the majors
  • Load factors stronger in May-2011
  • Unit revenue growth higher across the board
  • 16 consecutive months of revenue growth for US carriers: ATA
  • A profitable summer driven by high load factors and improved yields
  • Renewed challenge of escalating fuel prices
  • US carriers see continued unit revenue growth but increases fail to match inflation. Fuel prices a challenge

Graphs and data:

  • North American carriers’ domestic passenger capacity growth (% change year-on-year): May-2011
  • US domestic and international weekly capacity (ASMs – bill per week): 3Q2000 to 3Q2011
  • US domestic and international services: 3Q2000 to 3Q2011
  • International Seating Capacity Constitutes a Growing Share of US Airlines’ Global Route Networks
  • US domestic seating capacity trends
  • Domestic capacity (ASMs) per USD1000 of real US GDP since 1979
  • North American carriers’ traffic (RPMs) growth (%): May-2011
  • Select US airlines domestic traffic highlights: May-2011
  • North American carriers’ load factors (%): May-2011
  • Yields closing gap to unit costs of operations 
  • US airline unit revenue highlights (estimates): May-2011
  • ATA monthly Passenger Yield (Cents per RPM) 
  • 12-Month Rolling Passenger Revenue per Available Seat Mile (PRASM)
  • Price of Air Travel compared to inflation rate
  • Price of Air Travel Versus Other Goods and Services
  • Summer Travel Season: Passengers (mill) on US Airlines
  • Jet fuel costs: 1991 to 2011F
  • Jet fuel price development: Jan-2008 to Dec-2012 (Prices have surpassed USD140/bbl on Rising Crude and Refining Crack Spread)
  • Fuel consumption: 2005 to 2011F
  • United Continental PRASM development: Feb-2008 to May-2011
  • US Airways RASM and PRASM development: Feb-2008 to May-2011
  • Southwest Airlines PRASM development: Jan-2009 to May-2011
  • JetBlue Airways PRASM development: May-2007 to May-2011
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