US airlines carried a record 823 million passengers systemwide in 2016, up 3.1% from the previous record high of 798.2 million recorded in 2015, according to US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released March 16.

Systemwide passenger traffic reached a record high of 933.5 billion RPMs in 2016, surpassing by 3.5% the previous record high of 902.2 billion RPMs reached in 2015.

Capacity also reached a record level in 2016, with 1.12 trillion ASMs reported, a 3.9% rise on 1.08 trillion ASMs in 2015.

BTS noted the capacity expansion rate exceeded that of traffic demand, which resulted in “more empty seats available.” The 2016 systemwide load factor was 83.4%, down 0.4 point from a record-high 83.8% load factor reached in 2015.

BTS’ results were culled from data reported to the agency by 82 US scheduled-service carriers.

According to BTS, the top 10 US carriers in traffic and capacity for 2016 were:

  • American Airlines: 199 billion RPMs, 241.7 billion ASMs, 82.3% Passenger Load Factor (PLF);
  • Delta Air Lines: 191.7 billion RPMs, 225.3 billion ASMs, 85.1% PLF;
  • United Airlines: 186.2 billion RPMs, 224.7 billion ASMs, 82.9% PLF;
  • Southwest Airlines: 124.9 billion RPMs, 148.7 billion ASMs, 84% PLF;
  • JetBlue Airways: 45.7 billion RPMs, 53.7 billion ASMs, 85.0% PLF;
  • Alaska Airlines: 32.9 billion RPMs, 38.7 billion ASKs, 84.9% PLF;
  • Spirit Air Lines: 21.6 billion RPMs, 25.6 billion ASMs, 84.4% PLF;
  • SkyWest Airlines: 17.5 billion RPMs, 21.3 billion ASMs, 82.2% PLF;
  • Frontier Airlines: 16 billion RPMs, 18.4 billion ASMs87.0% PLF; and
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 15.5 billion RPMs, 18.4 billion ASMs, 84.2% PLF.

Mark Nensel mark.nensel@penton.com