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US airlines revenue dropped almost 50% in 2020

US airlines revenue dropped almost 50% in 2020
US airlines revenue dropped almost 50% in 2020
Written by Harry Johnson

Total operating revenue of all US airlines amounted to just $130 billion in 2020

  • In 2020, US airlines experienced a 47% YoY decrease in revenues from 2019
  • Airlines from the US collectively registered a net loss of 24.6 billion in 2020
  • In 2020, the total number of passengers handled by US carriers dropped by over 60% to just 369 million

The travel and tourism industry was one of the most affected by 2020’s Coronavirus pandemic. According to latest data, the total operating revenue of all US airlines amounted to just $130 billion in 2020 – a 47% YoY decrease from 2019.

U.S. Airlines Total Revenue Almost Cut in Half Due To Pandemic

Operating revenue for US airlines increased yearly since 2015, but 2020’s pandemic put an end to this momentum. In 2019, total operating revenue reached $248 billion, a number that decreased by 47% in 2020 to just $130 billion. 2020’s figure was also the lowest recorded within the reporting period of 2004 – 2020.

Airlines from the US collectively registered a net loss of 24.6 billion in 2020 a 256% decrease from 2019 when US airlines registered a combined net profit of $15.71 billion. 2020’s net loss was an even greater contraction than the one felt during the recession of 2008 when net loss was at $18.17 billion.

US Carriers Handled 60% Fewer Passengers In 2020

In 2019, US carriers handled an estimated 926 million passengers, made up of 811 million domestic passengers and an estimated 115 million international passengers. In 2020, the total number of passengers handled by US carriers dropped by over 60% to just 369 million.

Domestic travel dropped by almost half a billion passengers to just 335.35 million. The domestic passenger load factor was also the lowest in 2020 during the reporting period at just 58.86% compared to the high of 85.11% recorded in 2019.

An even bigger decline was seen in the number of international passengers that were handled by US carriers. In 2020 the number dropped by a staggering 90% to just 34 million passengers.

The airline industry was crippled by the pandemic despite the strong momentum that has been built over the last few years. More than a year after the virus took the global economy hostage, much uncertainty still remains about what the ‘new normal’ will look like and what it means for the future of air travel.