WASHINGTON, D.C. – Airlines for America (A4A) today announced that the largest U.S. airlines are continuing to deliver record operational performance and great customer value, despite economic challenges and rising costs that led to a $1 billion loss for the first half of 2012.
“From a consumer perspective, it’s a great time to travel by air,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We are in the safest period in aviation history; our members are delivering record on-time performance, airfares have not kept pace with inflation and customers today have greater options to choose products and services they value.”
Adjusted for inflation, recent government data shows that average round-trip domestic airfares fell 16 percent from 2000 through 2011. During the same period, the inflation rate increased more than 30 percent and the average tax burden per domestic round-trip journey rose 42 percent. “Air travel remains the most efficient and one of the least expensive ways to travel,” Calio said.
U.S. airlines in June delivered an improved on-time performance for the ninth consecutive month and the best-ever June baggage-handling results. Airlines continue to post on-time arrival rates greater than 80 percent, thanks to systemic airline changes and mild weather. Also in June, 99.67 percent of all U.S. airline passengers had their bags properly delivered, an all-time record for any June since the government began keeping records in 1988.
Gradually improving airline finances are driving job growth and an increased contribution to the economy. The Department of Transportation recently reported 18 consecutive months of job growth at the U.S. airlines. U.S. passenger airlines also are increasing their investment in new equipment with analysts predicting that more than $5 billion will be spent in 2012 on new aircraft and engines.
“Airlines continue to aggressively manage against steep cost increases, including fuel prices, which are expected to hit a record high in 2012 and continue to outpace increasing revenues,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich.