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Commercial Airlines Report a 94% Monthly Revenue Spike in August

By | September 18, 2020

Southwest Airlines passenger plane. Photo: Shutterstock.

Global commercial airline net sales nearly doubled between July and August 2020, according to a new industry report released by Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC). The firm said that ARC-accredited travel agencies booked $751 million worth of business in August compared to just $387 million in July, showing some signs of life during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions that have wiped out a vast majority summer vacation plans.

While commercial airlines will take any bit of good news these days, their August 2020 intake still represents a 90% decrease from revenues reported in August 2019, which reached $7.8 billion.

The sharp increase in August net sales is also attributable to a few other factors, including $169 million in international fares that travelers paid in August. “It’s important to note that [the August 2020 revenue total] also reflects a calming of the high volume of refund transactions that were seen in the early summer,” Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of data science, wrote in the report.

“ARC is continuing to see gradual improvements in air travel demand over the past month. In addition to passenger trip growth, we are also seeing dramatic improvements in month-over-month net sales for both cash and credit forms of payment, especially for international fares,” said Thackston. “Given airlines’ recent announcements to remove change fees, as well as their efforts to stimulate demand through enhanced safety measures, we will continue to closely monitor these improving trends in travel demand.”

The ARC also reported that the total number of U.S. domestic flights decreased 72% year-over-year in August to 4.4 million, while international trips decreased 82%. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price decreased from $483 in August 2019 to $321 in August 2020.