Air Transport World

Traffic turns turtle

Perry Flint

Ask most industry observers which U.S. airline market is growing faster, domestic or international, and nine times out of 10, they'll tell you that international is ahead. Guess what? They're wrong.

On an annual basis, U.S. domestic traffic (RPMs) has grown at a faster rate than has international traffic in each of the past three years, according to ATA and U.S. DOT statistics. Furthermore, U.S. airline domestic passenger revenues increased more rapidly than international passenger revenues in 1993, 1995 and 1996, according to ATA data and ATW estimates. And on a unit basis, domestic yield/RPM has outperformed international yield in three of the, past four years (see tables).

Surprised? You re not the only one. An unscientific poll of several FAA, industry and manufacturer analysts reveals that few are aware of these facts. Neither are they aware that international markets have not really returned to pre-Gulf War growth rates. …

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