Two recent reports show the airline industry in the United States is bouncing back.
Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) announced accredited travel agencies totaled $2.8 billion in net sales for March 2021, an 82 percent month-over-month increase compared to February.
The data collected indicates the third consecutive month of positive sales growth and a 120 percent increase compared to March 2020. Last month, total passenger trips increased 54 percent, U.S. domestic trips climbed by 50 percent and international trips were up 66 percent.
ARC settled 14,347,442 total passenger trips in March, an increase of 29 percent year-over-year, while U.S. domestic trips were up 34 percent and international trips were up 19 percent. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price increased from $377 in March 2020 to $382 in March 2021.
“Our data shows leisure and online travel agency segments continuing to fuel the growth in airline ticket purchases,” ARC managing director Chuck Thackston said. “Airlines are matching this demand by adding more leisure-focused routes while corporate travel remains suppressed.”
According to the OAG Schedules Analyzer, the recovery of commercial aviation in the U.S. is underway, as planned domestic capacity this May sits at 76 percent of what it was in May 2019, making the country one of the top performers in the world.
While the data focuses on planned seats instead of seats sold, airlines are showing confidence and optimism for the future. Six states have higher planned capacity levels in May, including Wyoming, Montana, Florida, Utah, South Dakota, and Idaho.
While the airline industry continues to bounce back thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, FlightGlobal’s first Airline Business Index found the airline industry was 0.58 of its pre-pandemic size at the end of 2020.
The study reflects an expectation that the industry will begin to recover from the demand lows caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic during the second half of 2021.