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July 15, 2010

DUE TO DOUBLE DIGIT DECLINES TO EUROPE, U.S. INTERNATIONAL AIR
TRAVEL ABROAD DOWN FIVE PERCENT IN APRIL 2010 (1)

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that U.S. outbound non-stop air passenger traffic totaled 2.9 million in April 2010, decreasing five percent compared to April 2009 and registering the first month over month decrease since November 2009. Top outbound markets were Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia. Air travel was up to the Caribbean and Asia, but Europe was down 19 percent as a result of flight interruption from Iceland’s volcanic ash. Mexico was down four percent. Departures were also down to Central and South America. The Middle East and Africa regions experienced the strongest growth at 29 and 25 percent, respectively.

In the first four months of 2010, outbound air traffic increased one percent when compared to the same period in 2009, reaching 11.5 million. In the first four months of 2010, positive growth occurred in five of the eight overseas regions, with Oceania, the Middle East and Africa posting double-digit increases. Outbound travel to Canada was up five percent but down three percent to Mexico.

U.S. spending in April 2010 by U.S. travelers on foreign carrier passenger fares totaled $2.3 billion (imports), up 10 percent compared to April 2009. For the month, the balance of trade for passenger fares was a $67 million surplus (foreign passenger fares on U.S. carriers [exports] exceeded imports).

Highlights: U.S. Citizen Air Traffic to Overseas Regions, Canada & Mexico

  • Overseas markets decreased six percent in April but increased two percent year to date.
  • Europe decreased 19 percent for the month and decreased seven percent for the year.
  • Asia grew eight percent for the month and was up nine percent year to date.
  • Canada increased five percent for the month and for the year.
  • The Caribbean increased two percent in April and increased five percent year to date.
  • For the month, air traffic to Mexico decreased four percent. For the year, air traffic to Mexico decreased three percent.
  • South America was down four percent for the month and down one percent year to date.
  • Central America was down 13 percent for the month and down four percent year to date.
  • The Middle East was up 29 percent in April and up 35 percent for the year.
  • Oceania increased 10 percent for the month and grew 14 percent year to date.
  • Africa increased 25 percent for the month and increased 18 percent for the year.

Background
Industry & Analysis’ Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. To view the OTTI U.S. departure data tables that provide monthly estimates of U.S. air travel abroad by world region and the rate of change each month and year-to-date, please visit: <http://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2010-O-001/index.html>.

For more detailed information on the U.S. international travel abroad research program, please visit: <http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i92/index.html>.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140; Fax: (202) 482-2887
Website: <www.tinet.ita.doc.gov>
Email: Otti@trade.gov


1Throughout this report, percent changes posted for U.S. air travelers for April 2010 were calculated by comparing data in April 2010 to data in April 2009.Also, percent changes posted for year to date 2010 were calculated by comparing data January – April 2010 to data January – April 2009.