WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines’ system-wide (domestic and international) scheduled service load factor – a measure of the use of airline capacity – fell to 83.8 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, after reaching a record high in October. Seasonal adjustment allows the comparing of monthly load factors to all other months.
Load factor is a measure of the use of aircraft capacity that compares the system use, measured in Revenue Passenger-Miles (RPMs) as a proportion of system capacity, measured in Available Seat-Miles (ASMs).
The seasonally-adjusted load factor fell from October (85.0) to November (83.8) because system capacity grew (0.2 percent increase in ASMs) while passenger travel declined (1.2 percent decline in RPMs).
November was the first month since February in which passenger enplanements did not reach a seasonally-adjusted all-time high. November enplanements declined 0.8 percent from October but were still the second highest all-time. RPMs declined 1.2 percent from the October all-time monthly high but were still the fourth highest all-time.
November capacity was virtually equal to the all-time high in August. The November load factor (83.8) was down from the October all-time high (85.0).
Systemwide: November load factor (82.4) was the highest for the month of November, up from the previous November high set in both 2011 and 2012 (81.9). The number of passengers, RPMs and ASMs all reached record highs for any November.
Domestic: November load factor (84.2) was the highest for the month of November, up from the previous November high set in 2011 (83.5). The number of passengers and RPMs reached record highs for any November while ASMs were below the November high set in 2007.
International: November load factor (78.1) was down from the all-time November high set in 2012 (79.6). The number of passengers and RPMs reached record highs for any November while ASMs were below the November high set in 2014.
For the first 11 months of 2015, January through November, system-wide load factor (83.9) was the highest period, up from the all-time high set in 2014 (83.5). The number of system-wide passengers, RPMs and ASMs all reached record highs for the first 11 months of any year.