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The US air transport market is currently valued as the largest in the world, with an estimated value of US$182.6 billion in 2012. The market, however, only recorded a moderate compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1% over 2006-2012, this was largely due to a 2009 decline of 14% compared to 2008.
Value sales within the US air transport market has benefited from a rise in business travel, low capacity growth due to consolidation and an increase in ancillary services. Airlines confidently raised fares in 2010 and into 2011, as they saw their first opportunity for higher profits in years.
There were almost 3,200 companies operating in the market in 2012, up by 2% since 2012. Despite this, the US air transport industry remained concentrated, with the largest air carriers generating the lion's share of turnover. As of 2012, the top five largest companies generated almost 65% of industry turnover.
The four largest air transport companies by scheduled transportation of passengers in the world are US companies. The leading players are Delta Airlines Inc; AMR Corporation with its daughter company American Airlines Inc; United Continental Holdings Inc operating through the United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection brands; and Southwest Airlines Co. However, American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011, skewing the market's competitive landscape.
Delta Airlines Inc and Northwest Airlines Corp merged in 2008, thus creating the largest airline in the world. This airline now operates as Delta Airlines Inc and offers flights to 332 (103 international and 229 domestic) destinations.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs over 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of 714 aircraft. With hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita, the company flies over 160 million passengers per annum.
The largest product line offered by the industry is domestic passenger charters, which accounts for about 60.3% of industry revenue. Another 17.9% of revenue is generated from the charter of passengers to international locations. In most cases, international charter locations will be relatively close to the US, such as Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Aircraft range and fuel consumption make longer distances uneconomical compared to scheduled services.
For more information on the US air transport market, see the latest research: US Air Transport Market
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