Air travel has definitely rebounded as the economy improves. U.S. airlines carried 57.3 million domestic and international passengers in September, up 4.9 percent over Sept. 2009, according to the latest data from the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
The September jump was the largest monthly year-over-year increase since September 2007. The September 2010 passenger total was also 5.7 percent above that of two years ago in September 2008 -- but still remained 3.2 percent below the pre-recession level of September 2007, the BTS said.
The breakdown: U.S. airlines carried 4.3 percent more domestic passengers in September 2010 than in September 2009. International passengers on U.S. carriers in September 2010 increased 9.4 percent. The September 2010 load factors, 81.0 percent systemwide (79.9 percent domestic and 83.5 percent international) were the highest recorded for any September.
The top airlines in terms of traffic were Delta, which carried more domestic and international passengers than any other U.S. airline. But Southwest Airlines carried the most domestic passengers.