How Many People Travel Each Year Via Air

Have you ever stood in the middle of an airport with people scurrying around you like busy bees in a hive, going and coming, coming and going every which way? On a recent trip, I observed the activity around me and wondered how many people actually pass through airports each year. In case you’ve ever pondered this, here’s a look at the domestic and international fronts regarding how many passengers fly each year, and the busiest U.S. airlines and airports.
*Note: The information that follows relates to the first seven months of 2008.

Domestic Travel

Passengers. 392.6 million passengers took to the skies on U.S. carriers via 5.586 million flights. That’s 1.5% fewer travelers and 2.1% fewer flights than in the same time period in 2007.

Busiest U.S. Airports. The top ten list for busiest airports includes Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas / Ft. Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Orlando, Houston Bush, and Charlotte.

Busiest U.S. Airlines. Southwest, American, Delta, United, US Airways (includes merged US Airways and American West), Northwest, Continental, AirTran, JetBlue, and SkyWest make up the top 10 busiest U.S. airlines.

International Travel

Passengers. From January through July this year, 55.9 million people flew on 515,000 internationally scheduled U.S. carriers, up 4.5% and .9% respectively from last year.

Busiest U.S. Airports. The U.S. airports that held the busiest international schedule of flights were Miami, New York JFK, Atlanta, Newark, Houston Bush, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas / Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Detroit Metro.

Busiest U.S. Airlines: American, Continental, Delta, United, Northwest, US Airways (includes merged US Airways and American West), ExpressJet, Executive, Spirit, and JetBlue made the top 10 list for flying the highest numbers of international passengers.

Remainder of 2008
Historically, the holidays are the busiest time of the year for air travel, but with the present economic conditions in the U.S, it will be interesting to see how many people choose flying as their mode of transportation. We’ll follow up this blog with air travel information covering August through December 2008 just as soon as those numbers are available. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we’d like to hear your comments.

U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics (

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