January 21, 2021

Q3 2020 Average Fares Fell to Lowest in Decades

The average U.S. domestic airfare declined 39.9% in the third quarter of 2020 to $245, the lowest inflation-adjusted average quarterly airfare in Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) records dating back to 1995. The previous low was $262 in the second quarter of 2020.  By comparison, Wichita’s average airfare fell 36%, to $254 from $397 in 2019.

Adjusted for inflation (constant 2020 dollars) the average U.S. Q3 2020 airfare was:

  • Down 29.9% from 3Q 2019 ($349)
  • Down 6.7% from 2Q 2020 ($262)
  • Down 40.0% from 3Q 2015 ($408)

As passenger demand fell, so did airfares. U.S. airlines reported 27 million originating passengers in the third quarter of 2020, down from 86 million passengers a year earlier.  Wichita passengers in the third quarter were down 56% from last year, a decrease of 327,948 originating passengers.

The weakness in fares was also compounded by nearly absent corporate travel demand, which led legacy carriers to discount tickets to compete for price-sensitive leisure travelers.  Bookings for corporate air travel were 83% below 2019 levels as of mid-January 2021, according to data from Airlines for America (A4A).

Among the top 100 U.S. airports, ICT ranked the 96th largest airport and ranked 39th in domestic airfares.

Q3 2020 Average Fares at Regional Airports

AIRPORTInflation Adjusted Average Fare 2020Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 2019$Diff.%Diff.
Des Moines$233.85
$390.94
-$157.08
-40%
Omaha$245.34
$375.26
-$129.93
-35%
Kansas City$246.48
$364.13
-$117.66
-32%
Tulsa$253.16
$406.09
-$152.92
-38%
Eastern Iowa$253.46
$397.24
-$143.78
-36%
Wichita$253.86
$396.92
-$143.06
-36%
Oklahoma City$262.31
$394.09
-$131.78
-33%
National Average$244.36
$345.09
-$100.73
-29%

Media Contacts

Valerie Wise

Air Service & Business Development Manager

(316) 946-4780

Brad Christopher

Assistant Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

Victor White

Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

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