It shows that US airlines have improved their fuel efficiency about 15% between 2005 and 2011. During the same period revenue passenger enplanements rose just over 7%. That is an impressive performance. With fewer flights and high load factors, the industry has improved its fuel efficiency. As the EIA points out, the US airline industry has seen an 11% decline in fuel consumption during the period.
But the cost of fuel has risen some 93%, the overall impact has still been tough for the industry to cope with. The Airlines fro America trade group notes that fuel costs rose from a base of 100 in 2000 to 353 at the end of 2011.
Within the constraints of a weak economy, risking negative customer reaction from historically high load factors, the industry has done what it can to be more fuel efficient.