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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Airlines Carry 66 Million Passengers in August 2021 (Preliminary), Up 162% from August 2020, Still Down 20.8% from Pre-Pandemic August 2019

Friday, October 15, 2021

BTS 62-21
Contact: Todd Solomon
Tel:  202-366-0573
todd.solomon@dot.gov

 

U.S. airlines carried 66 million passengers in August 2021 (preliminary) according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 20 airlines that carry more than 90% of passengers. That is an increase of 162% scheduled service passengers from August 2020 (25.2 million) but remains 20.8% below the number of passengers carried in the most recent corresponding pre-pandemic month, August 2019 (83.4 million).

 

Preliminary August 2021 passenger numbers (20 carriers reporting):

  • Total: 66 million passengers, up 162% from August 2020 (25.2M), down 20.8% from August 2019 (83.4M)
  • Domestic: 59.7 million passengers, up 151% from August 2020 (23.8M), down 17.5% from August 2019 (72.4M)
  • International: 6.3 million passengers, up 358% from August 2020 (1.4M), down 42.7% from August 2019 (11M)

 

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final August data will be released on Nov 12.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released in Feb 2022.

Systemwide Passengers

  • August 2021 passengers:  66M
  • Change from August 2020: 162%
  • Change from August 2019: -20.8%
  • Percent of 2020 passengers:  262%
  • Change from April 2020 COVID-19 low: +63M passengers

 

 

Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2017-2021

 

Year-to-Year Percent Change

 

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

2020 - 2021

January

3.0

5.2

5.7

-61.5

February

5.8

4.2

6.7

-60.8

March

4.6

6.4

-51.3

9.5

April

6.0

3.9

-96.1

1492.3

May

6.1

5.3

-90.1

617.3

June

6.2

3.7

-80.3

300.3

July

6.4

3.7

-72.4

206.7

August

6.3

3.5

-69.8

162.3*

September

7.1

5.7

-65.2

 

October

5.0

4.2

-61.8

 

November

5.7

0.5

-60.7

 

December

4.8

8.9

-61.5

 

Jan - Aug

5.6

4.4

-59.1

60.4

Annual

5.6

4.6

-60.2

 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

*August 2021 data is preliminary

 

Domestic Passengers

  • August 2021 passengers:  59.7M
  • Change from August 2020: 151%
  • Change from August 2019: -17.5%
  • Percent of 2020 passengers:  251%
  • Change from April 2020 low: +56.9M passengers
  • Domestic percent of total August 2021 passengers:  90%
  • Domestic percent of total August 2020 passengers:  95%

 

Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2017-2021

 

Year-to-Year Percent Change

 

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

2020 - 2021

January

3.3

5.3

6.2

-60.6

February

6.0

4.2

7.5

-59.1

March

4.2

6.7

-51.0

14.3

April

7.0

3.8

-95.7

1426.5

May

6.6

5.3

-89.0

571.6

June

6.6

3.6

-77.9

272.8

July

7.2

3.9

-69.6

191.1

August

6.9

3.5

-67.1

151*

September

7.2

5.9

-62.7

 

October

5.0

4.3

-59.9

 

November

5.8

0.3

-59.4

 

December

5.0

9.6

-60.9

 

Jan - Aug

6.0

4.5

-57.7

61.8

Annual

5.9

4.6

-58.7

 

 Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

*August 2021 data is preliminary

 

International Passengers

  • August 2021 passengers:  6.3M
  • Change from August 2020: 358%
  • Change from August 2019: -42.7%
  • Percent of 2020 passengers:  458%
  • Change from April 2020 low: +6.2M passengers
  • International percent of total August 2021 passengers:  10%
  • International percent of total August 2020 passengers:  5%

 

Table 3: International Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2017-2021

 

Year-to-Year Percent Change

 

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

2020 - 2021

January

1.3

4.8

2.1

-67.5

February

4.8

3.8

1.0

-73.4

March

7.4

3.8

-53.3

-25.7

April

-0.6

4.7

-98.6

2923.3

May

2.7

5.7

-98.1

2530

June

3.7

4.3

-96.4

1414.6

July

1.9

2.3

-90.4

525.8

August

2.5

3.9

-87.5

357.7*

September

6.3

4.7

-83.7

 

October

4.6

3.4

-77.3

 

November

5.0

2.4

-70.3

 

December

3.6

4.0

-66.0

 

Jan - Aug

2.9

4.1

-68.7

47.7

Annual

3.5

4.0

-70.4

 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

*August 2021 data is preliminary 

 

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from U.S. airlines as of October 7, 2021.

See the BTS Airlines and Airport page for additional U.S. airlines numbers through July 2021 for U.S. airlines. International data by origin and destination is available through April 2021.

None of the data above are from samples. Measures of statistical significance do not apply to the complete air traffic data.