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Passenger airlines in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The United States has the largest air travel market of any single country, with more than 926 million passengers being transported in 2019. U.S. passenger airlines are some of the largest in the world, with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines being among the world’s largest airlines. Several factors explain the leading position of the U.S. market. First is the country’s size, in terms of geography, population and the economy. Combined with the lack of a high-sped passenger rail network, these three factors create a huge demand for domestic flights, with this often being the only feasible option for long-distance trips. Second is the country’s status as a hub for intercontinental travel. Not only do tourism and business travel create a high demand for intercontinental flights, but the U.S. is often a stopover destination for flights to other countries in the region.

Types of airlines

In 2020, there were 59 airlines in the United States, of which 18 are classified as major carriers with over one billion U.S. dollars in revenue. Broadly, the airlines in the U.S. can be divided into three main categories: full-service legacy carriers, low-cost carriers, and regional carriers. Legacy carriers are those airlines with established interstate routes at the time of the airline industry deregulation in 1978. In the decades since, the three giant legacy carriers - Delta, American, and United – have collectively merged with or acquired the majority of carriers existing prior to deregulation. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are the only other legacy carriers still in operation. The legacy carriers presently account for over half of the domestic market.

Low-cost carriers emerged since deregulation and have fundamentally changed the airline industry by offering significantly cheaper fares than full-service carriers. This is achieved largely through charging extra for services like checked baggage, food and beverages, and in some cases inflight entertainment. U.S. low-cost carrier Southwest is the world’s largest, while JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are in the top ten. Other U.S. low-cost carriers include Allegiant and Frontier. Interestingly, several low-cost carriers consistently outscore the full-service carriers in for customer satisfaction.

Finally, regional carriers are those with operating revenue of below 100 million U.S. dollars and provide services to communities too small to justify the presence of a mainline carrier. The regional segment differs in that while overall U.S. air travel industry has been growing, the number of regional carriers and passengers transported has been declining. High operating costs, low demand and the effects of the pilot shortage are the factors generally provided to explain this decline.

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. airlines

The U.S. aviation industry was greatly impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, with the number of passengers decreasing drastically from 860 million passengers in 2019 to 348 million in 2020. The sharp decline in passenger traffic led to the drastic financial performance of U.S. airlines. American Airlines' revenue fell from 45.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 17.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Southwest Airlines also saw their revenue streams decrease from 22.4 billion U.S. dollars to only nine billion U.S. dollars in that year.

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Financials

Passengers

Passenger experience

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Passenger airlines in the U.S".

Passenger airlines in the U.S.

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Passenger airlines in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The United States has the largest air travel market of any single country, with more than 926 million passengers being transported in 2019. U.S. passenger airlines are some of the largest in the world, with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines being among the world’s largest airlines. Several factors explain the leading position of the U.S. market. First is the country’s size, in terms of geography, population and the economy. Combined with the lack of a high-sped passenger rail network, these three factors create a huge demand for domestic flights, with this often being the only feasible option for long-distance trips. Second is the country’s status as a hub for intercontinental travel. Not only do tourism and business travel create a high demand for intercontinental flights, but the U.S. is often a stopover destination for flights to other countries in the region.

Types of airlines

In 2020, there were 59 airlines in the United States, of which 18 are classified as major carriers with over one billion U.S. dollars in revenue. Broadly, the airlines in the U.S. can be divided into three main categories: full-service legacy carriers, low-cost carriers, and regional carriers. Legacy carriers are those airlines with established interstate routes at the time of the airline industry deregulation in 1978. In the decades since, the three giant legacy carriers - Delta, American, and United – have collectively merged with or acquired the majority of carriers existing prior to deregulation. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are the only other legacy carriers still in operation. The legacy carriers presently account for over half of the domestic market.

Low-cost carriers emerged since deregulation and have fundamentally changed the airline industry by offering significantly cheaper fares than full-service carriers. This is achieved largely through charging extra for services like checked baggage, food and beverages, and in some cases inflight entertainment. U.S. low-cost carrier Southwest is the world’s largest, while JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are in the top ten. Other U.S. low-cost carriers include Allegiant and Frontier. Interestingly, several low-cost carriers consistently outscore the full-service carriers in for customer satisfaction.

Finally, regional carriers are those with operating revenue of below 100 million U.S. dollars and provide services to communities too small to justify the presence of a mainline carrier. The regional segment differs in that while overall U.S. air travel industry has been growing, the number of regional carriers and passengers transported has been declining. High operating costs, low demand and the effects of the pilot shortage are the factors generally provided to explain this decline.

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. airlines

The U.S. aviation industry was greatly impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, with the number of passengers decreasing drastically from 860 million passengers in 2019 to 348 million in 2020. The sharp decline in passenger traffic led to the drastic financial performance of U.S. airlines. American Airlines' revenue fell from 45.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 17.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Southwest Airlines also saw their revenue streams decrease from 22.4 billion U.S. dollars to only nine billion U.S. dollars in that year.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Passenger airlines in the U.S".

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