Mexico and New York top the destinations for US air travellers during the holiday season; European demand also on the rise

Airlines Reporting Corp (ARC), a specialist in air travel distribution and intelligence, has revealed Mexico as the largest international market and New York as the largest city market for US air travellers for the forthcoming holiday season. But, domestic demand appears to have stalled during the Christmas-New Year season, according to its preliminary analysis.


Summary:

  • Airlines Reporting Corp (ARC) reveals Mexico as the largest international market and New York as the largest city market for US air travellers for the holiday season;
  • The specialist in air travel distribution and intelligence reports a decrease in domestic air bookings versus the same period last year.
  • Overall, holiday travel round-trip ticket prices are on par with 2017 with the average ticket price changing less than 1% year-over-year.

ARC says that domestic air travel for the Christmas-New Year period from 23-Dec-2018 to 01-Jan-2019 has decreased compared to the same period last year. Holiday air travel is down -14% for flights to Washington, D.C., -12% for San Francisco, -8% for Los Angeles, -6% for Boston and -5% for New York.

This is based upon ticket sales, but does not include those purchased directly from airlines’ own channels, so it could highlight a growing trend for travellers to buy directly from airline websites. It is also unclear which timescales are being compared as if it is comparing the full season travel in 2017/2018 it would not include late bookings ahead of, and during, the holiday season.

There may be declines versus last year, but US markets still unsurprisingly dominate the largest city markets during the period. In fact US cities hold the top nine positions with Cancun, Mexico the only foreign market, slipping in at tenth position. The full list comprises: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Orlando, Denver, Boston, Washington DC and Cancun.

It is a different story in international markets, particularly to Europe with ARC reporting air ticket sales are up for many popular European destinations this Christmas-New Year’s season compared to 2017. Its data shows the number of air tickets sold for travel to its biggest market, the United Kingdom, is up +20% compared with the same period last year – Italy is up +21%, while France and Spain are up +12%.

The increased popularity of seasonal flights to the United Kingdom sees it ranked as the second largest international country market for air travel from the US during the seasonal holidays. The growth is significant and buoyed by increased trans-Atlantic connectivity, but not enough to unseat Mexico from the number one position.

The full top ten international markets from the US this holiday period, according to ARC, comprises: Mexico, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Italy, France, Spain and the Canary Islands, Bahamas and Germany.

ARC claims that overall, holiday travel round-trip ticket prices are on par with the 2017/2018 period. with the average ticket price changing less than 1% year-over-year.

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