If you are in the hospitality industry, chances are your business is impacted by the number of people who travel by air. The Bureau of Transportation has recently released the latest numbers for 3Q2011 U.S. Air Carrier Traffic. Despite all we hear about the recession and its negative impact on travel, the number of passengers over the last year has increased. In fact, more than 736 million passengers travelled on a U.S. Air Carrier between Nov. 2010 and Oct. 2011, reflecting an increase of 2% over the 721 million passengers in the same period one year earlier.

And what is it costing folks to fly these days?  The average fare at all airports* for 3Q2011 was $361.  Here is a list of airports with the five highest and lowest average itinerary fares:

Highest Average Fares

  • Cincinnati, OH            $488
  • Huntsville, AL            $473
  • Memphis, TN             $472
  • Houston Bush, TX     $469
  • Washington Dulles     $468

Lowest Average Fares

  • Atlantic City, NJ         $167
  • Long Beach, CA          $240
  • Bellingham, WA          $253
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL     $256
  • Orlando, FL                $263

According to the NOAA’s Science on a Sphere,“On any given day, more than 87,000 flights are in the skies in the United States. Only one-third are commercial carriers, like American, United or Southwest. On an average day, air traffic controllers handle 28,537 commercial flights (major and regional airlines), 27,178 general aviation flights (private planes), 24,548 air taxi flights (planes for hire), 5,260 military flights and 2,148 air cargo flights (Federal Express, UPS, etc.). At any given moment, roughly 5,000 planes are in the skies above the United States. In one year, controllers handle an average of 64 million takeoffs and landings.”


*Top 100 Airports based on 2010 U.S. Originating Domestic Passengers (not including Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico). Fares are based on domestic itinerary fares. Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares unless the customer does not purchase a return trip. In that case, the one-way fare is included. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airlines plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include other fees paid at the airport or onboard the aircraft. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares” or a few abnormally high reported fares.