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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on US air ticket sales persists

ARC: US Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Continue to Decline in April

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on US air ticket sales persists
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Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) today released data showing that ARC-accredited travel agencies experienced a 107% year-over-year decrease in air ticket sales during April. The consolidated dollar value of tickets transacted by agencies last month totaled -$648 million – resulting from increased refunds and reduced travel bookings – compared to $9 billion in April 2019.*

Passenger trips reflected the broader trend, with the total number of trips settled by ARC in April down 92% YOY, from 27,721,471 to 2,175,762. U.S. domestic trips decreased 92% YOY to 1.46 million, while international trips numbered 711,992, a 93% decrease YOY. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $499 in 2019 to $336 in April 2020.

Month over month, April 2020 results show:

  • A 150% decline in net sales, from $1.3 billion to -$648 million;
  • An 80% decrease in number of passenger trips; and
  • An 80% decline in U.S. domestic trips and 81% decline in international trips.

Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD)** sales showed a decrease YOY as well, down 90% to $845,441. EMD transaction volume also decreased 90% YOY in April 2020, totaling 11,295.

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending April 30, 2020, from 11,761 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, satellite ticket printing offices and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines.
  • Average ticket price (in USD) for a round-trip ticket settled through ARC for an itinerary that included only U.S. domestic travel.
  • Passenger trips include the total number of passengers taking a trip from one airport to another using either direct or connecting flights. Newly issued trips are added, and refunded trips are deducted to provide a net view of traveling passengers.
  • U.S. Domestic passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where the itinerary is wholly within the U.S. International passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where some or all of the travel occurs to airports outside the U.S. or originates outside the U.S.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

**Electronic Miscellaneous Documents (EMD)