HOUSTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. airlines carried a total of 743.1 million passengers in 2013, up 0.9 percent over the previous year, for the highest annual total since 2008, according to new statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The passenger volume rose nearly 1 percent even though the number of flights operated by U.S. airlines declined 1.4 percent last year. Domestically U.S. airlines carried 645.6 million passengers, up 0.5 percent from 2012, while internationally they carried 97.5 million passengers, up 3.3 percent from 2012, the Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) said in a report Thursday.
Traffic as measured in revenue passenger miles increased 2.1 percent, more than the 0.9 percent increase in passengers, suggesting that the average trip was longer in 2013 than in 2012. The average passenger trip increased 2.1 percent to 1,131 miles, according to the report.
For the year 2013, Delta carried more passengers than any other U.S. airline. Southwest carried the most domestic passengers while United carried the most international passengers. The busiest airport in the country was Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic.