We now have much more recent data thanks to FlightRadar24, which when combined with the TSA daily counts, provides us with a sense of how the US airline industry is doing. It is better but a long way – very long – from where it needs to be for the US airline industry to get back to where it was a year ago.
The chart below shows the average number of passengers per flight in 2019 and 2020. Clearly we are off the bottom. But still over 60% lower than last year through June 5th.
When we look at the number of flights and traffic volume since the pandemic hit, we can see that US airlines have been tracking the traffic well – but stayed way ahead in capacity compared to demand. This may be because the federal financial support required schedules to be kept at some level. The gap can be expected to close as airlines cut back schedules further though.
Looking ahead things still don’t look encouraging. Our forecast looks out 90 days, using past data and a 99% confidence interval. The trend suggests an average of 50 seats per flight.
Hopefully, you didn’t buy airline stocks last week. The recovery is looks like a slow process.