Air Capital Insider

Report: U.S. airlines set records in 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Thursday that U.S. airlines in 2015 set annual records in key metrics.

The bureau said in a news release that U.S. airlines’ systemwide 83.8 percent load factor — a total of 798.4 million passengers enplaned — in 2015 was “the highest for any year.”

Last year’s load factor beat the previous record of 83.4 percent in 2014.

The systemwide figures represent a combination of U.S. airlines’ domestic and international flights.

U.S. airlines also broke systemwide records in 2015 for revenue passenger miles — 902.4 million — and available seat miles, which totaled 1.07 trillion.

Revenue passenger miles is an industry metric that measures one paying passenger flown one mile, while available seat miles are a measure of an airline’s capacity.

A strong airline industry has been beneficial to the order books of commercial airplane makers Airbus and Boeing, and by extension, Wichita. Airbus operates Airbus Americas Engineering in Old Town. And Spirit AeroSystems, the city’s largest private employer, makes parts of all Boeing airliners in Wichita as well as parts of Airbus aircraft.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark