US Domestic Travel Industry nearing Recovery?

 United States Based airlines carried 730 million domestic and international passengers in 2011, the highest total since 2008, a governmnt report said Thursday.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics also showed that airlines flew with an average of 82.87% of all seats on domestic flights occupied in 2011, a record high for what the industry calls the "load factor." On international flights, the load factor was 80.30% in 2011, the second highest rate for that category.

Combined, the growing passenger numbers and the record domestic load factor demonstrate again that the nation's airlines are enjoying growing demand for air travel, representing a strong rebound from the industry slump during the recession.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines ranked as the nation's busiest carrier, serving 113.5 million domestic and international travelers, followed by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which carried a total of 110.6 million passengers in 2011.

Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the nation's busiest airport, serving 39.6 million passengers in 2011, an increase of nearly 3% over the previous year.Los Angeles International Airport was the country's fifth busiest airport, serving 22.4 million passengers, an increase of nearly 6%, according to the bureau's report.