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September 02, 2010

U.S. INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVEL ABROAD UP EIGHT PERCENT IN MAY 2010 (1)

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that U.S. outbound non-stop air passenger traffic totaled 3.6 million in May 2010, increasing eight percent compared to May 2009 and registering the fifth month over month increase since December 2009. Top outbound markets were Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and Mexico. Air travel was up to the Caribbean, Asia and Mexico, but Europe was down only one percent as air travel began to rebound after the numerous flight interruptions from Iceland’s volcanic ash. Departures were up to South America but down to Central America. The Mexico, Middle East and Oceania regions experienced the strongest growth at 68, 19 and 12 percent, respectively.

In the first five months of 2010, outbound air traffic increased three percent when compared to the same period in 2009, reaching 15.1 million. In the first five 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 Mexico was up seven percent. Travel also increased to Canada, up four percent in the first five months of the year.

U.S. spending in May 2010 by U.S. travelers on foreign carrier passenger fares totaled $2.4 billion (imports), up 19 percent compared to May 2009. For the month, the balance of trade for passenger fares was a $25 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 increased two percent in both May and year to date.
  • Europe decreased one percent for the month and five percent for the year.
  • Asia grew 10 percent for the month and was up nine percent year to date.
  • Canada increased two percent for the month and grew four percent for the year.
  • The Caribbean increased two percent in May and increased four percent year to date.
  • For the month, air traffic to Mexico increased 68 percent. For the year, air traffic to Mexico increased seven percent.
  • South America was up four percent for the month and flat year to date.
  • Central America was down nine percent for the month and down five percent year to date.
  • The Middle East was up 19 percent in May and up 31 percent for the year.
  • Oceania increased 12 percent for the month and grew 14 percent year to date.
  • Africa increased eight percent for the month and increased 16 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


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