U.S. airlines carried an all-time high number of passengers during the first six months of 2017, totaling 414.4 million systemwide, surpassing the previous high reached in 2016, according to a recently published report from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Airlines also set all-time annual highs for their systemwide domestic and international revenue passenger miles and available seat miles as well.
Due to international passenger travel outpacing growth in international capacity, the record number of airline passengers in the first six months of 2017 resulted in fewer systemwide empty seats.
The six-month load factor also rose, going from 82.7 in 2016 to 82.9 this year, largely due to a 3.1 percent increase in revenue passenger miles growing faster than the 2.8 percent increase in available seat miles.
Systemwide passenger enplanements in June reached 70.9 million, a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high, which is up less than one-tenth of one percent from May. However, domestic passenger enplanements were down 0.04 percent from the all-time seasonally adjusted high of 61.74 million reached in May.
While domestic enplanements decreased slightly, international enplanements reached a new seasonally-adjusted all-time high to 9.14 million, up from the previous high of 9.11 million set in April.