Commercial aviation helps drive more than 10M American jobs and 5 cents of every dollar of U.S. GDP
Commercial aviation drives more than $1 trillion per year in economic activity
In 2012, U.S. airlines moved more than 48,000 tons of cargo per day
In 2012, the value of a kilogram of U.S. merchandise exported by air averaged 121 times the value exported by sea
For every 100 airline jobs, some 360 are supported outside of the airline industry
Federal taxes constitute $61 – or 20% – of the price of a typical $300 domestic round-trip ticket
In 2012, U.S. airlines carried 16% more passengers and cargo than in 2000, while using two billion fewer gallons of fuel
Domestically, airlines drive 5% of economic activity but account for 2% of man-made GHG emissions
From 1978-2012, U.S. airlines improved fuel efficiency approximately 120%
From 1975-2012, U.S. airlines and their partners reduced significant noise exposure by 95%
Commercial air travel is the safest form of intercity transportation in the United States
From 2008 - 2012, scheduled air service on U.S. airlines was 42 times safer than in the 1970s.
From 2000-2012, U.S. airlines improved the on-time arrival rate from 72.6% to 81.9%
From 2000-2012, U.S. airlines reduced the flight cancellation rate sharply from 3.30% to 1.29%
Airfares are a bargain: From 2000-2012, U.S. CPI rose 33% while average domestic fare rose just 13%
Adjusted for inflation, the average round-trip domestic airfare fell 15% from 2000
2007 domestic flight delays cost the United States approximately $31 billion
In 2012, the value of U.S. merchandise exported by air reached an all-time high of $427B
In 2012, U.S. exports of air-travel services reached an all-time high of $39.4B, driving a $4.7B trade surplus
In 2012, U.S. passenger and cargo airlines spent more than $50B on fuel, averaging 36% of operating expenses
In 2012, U.S. airlines posted the lowest annual rate of mishandled baggage ever recorded
FAA projects U.S. air travel demand to top 1 billion passengers in 2027
In 2012, US airlines flew 83.4 million passengers in scheduled international service - a record high
In 2012, the total value of merchandise exported from or imported to the United States by air exceeded $927 billion
In 2012, 7.15 teragrams of merchandise was exported from or imported to the United States by air
Recognizing the significant strain placed by flight delays on the U.S. air transportation system, in August 2008 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commissioned five NEXTOR universities (UC Berkeley, MIT, George Mason University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech) and the Brattle Group to conduct a comprehensive study on the total delay impact (TDI) in the United States. On December 16, 2010, NEXTOR published its revised final report, entitled Total Delay Impact Study: A Comprehensive Assessment of the Costs and Impacts of Flight Delay in the United States. The study analyzed data from 2007 to calculate the economic impact of flight delays on airlines and passengers, the costs of lost demand, and the toll on U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
Growing delays threaten the competitiveness of the U.S. in the world economy by limiting the ability of the air transport system to serve the needs of the U.S. economy... In addition to improving business performance generally, air transport impacts the economy through the jobs and revenue it directly creates in air transport-related industries, the expenditures of air travelers on auxiliary goods and services, and the secondary impacts that result as these dollars recycle throughout the economy.
The authors found that increased delays directly correlate with increased costs:
"Flight delay is a serious and widespread problem in the United States. Increasing flight delays place a significant strain on the U.S. air travel system and cost airlines, passengers and society many billions of dollars each year... The $8.3 billion airline component consists of increased expenses for crew, fuel and maintenance, among others. The $16.7 billion passenger component is based on the passenger time lost due to schedule buffer, delayed flights, flight cancellations and missed connections. The $2.2 billion cost from lost demand is an estimate of the welfare loss incurred by passengers who avoid air travel as the result of delays...
In addition to these direct costs imposed on the airline industry and its customers, flight delays have indirect effects on the U.S. economy. Specifically, inefficiency in the air transportation sector increases the cost of doing business for other sectors, making the associated business less productive... The TDI team estimates that air transportation delays reduced the 2007 U.S. GDP by $4 billion.
One can certainly expect that new aviation technologies and procedures, including those associated with the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), coupled with appropriate government policies and infrastructure investments, have the potential to reduce the identified costs by a very large percentage."
Detailed Breakdown of Cost of Air Transportation Delay in 2007
In 2007, domestic flight delays were found to cost the U.S. economy $31.2 billion in 2007, including $8.3 billion in direct costs to airlines, $16.7 billion in direct costs to passengers, $2.2 billion from lost demand and $4.0 billion in forgone GDP.
Line Item Cost Component
Flight Delay Against Schedule
Intrinsic Flight Delay due to Schedule Buffer
Excess Travel Time due to Schedule Buffer
Passenger Delay Against Schedule: Delayed Flights
Passenger Delay Against Schedule: Canceled Flights
Passenger Delay Against Schedule: Missed Connections
Capacity-Induced Schedule Delay
Voluntary Early-Departure-Time Adjustment
Welfare loss due to switch from air to automobile
Externality cost from increased road traffic
Total U.S. Cost
Source: Total Delay Impact Study: A Comprehensive Assessment of the Costs and Impacts of Flight Delay in the United States, NEXTOR (Dec. 16, 2010)