By Emily Cahn - 05/20/11 04:46 PM EDT
Airline passenger revenue spiked 12 percent in April compared to the same month last year even amid rising gas prices and a sluggish economy, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) reported Friday.
The ATA – a trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines – reported that this was the 16th consecutive month that airlines increased revenue both from air travel and shipping, a statistic the group said is a good sign for the economy.
“Growth in air travel spending at the start of the second quarter bodes well for U.S. economic recovery,” ATA Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a news release. “ATA forecasts 1.5 percent more passengers will fly during the summer months and is optimistic that strong international demand will help offset volatile fuel costs.”
According to ATA’s report, passengers are flying more, even as the average price per one mile of flight rose 9 percent for the month of April.
Other findings from the report show that a sample of U.S. airlines saw a 22 percent rise in mail and freight shipments in April of this year compared to last April, with 17 percent of the growth coming from domestic shipments, and 24 percent internationally.
The ATA also reported that domestic flight revenue rose 8.6 percent, trans-Atlantic revenue grew 27 percent, Latin American revenue saw a 24 percent spike, and trans-Pacific revenue rose 5.5 percent. The ATA attributed the small growth of trans-Pacific growth to the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster in Japan.
The ATA’s findings are based on data from the following airlines: Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways, including data for Air Midwest, Air Wisconsin, Allegheny, American Eagle, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Southeast, Chautauqua, Comair, Continental Express, Executive, Freedom, Horizon, Mesa, Mesaba, Piedmont, Pinnacle, PSA, Shuttle America, SkyWest and Trans States.