Airline industry flew high in 2014

March 16, 2015 03:57 PM

Just as the U.S. economy is in full-recovery mode, so too is the airline industry. It’s lately made an impressive about-face from only a decade ago and, in 2014, soared to several new benchmarks.

In 2014, a record 98 million passengers flew to foreign destinations on U.S. carriers. Meanwhile, 662 million traveled domestically by air, the highest number since 2007.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the percentage of seats filled in 2014 climbed to 83.4%—another fresh record.

This year, the daily number of available seats for international-bound flights out of the U.S. will rise to an all-time high of over 350,000. That’s 20,000 more seats per day than were available just last year.

And the success stories just keep on coming. Air travel in March and April is typically strong, but this season is expected to be the strongest since before the recession.

I often travel through Houston, and it’s a good case study to illustrate the boom in air travel demand, domestic as well as international. In 2014, the city’s two main airports, the 46-year-old George Bush Intercontinental Airport—it was renamed in 1997—and William P. Hobby Airport, both broke passenger traffic records that had been set in the previous year. Intercontinental saw an increase of 9.2% in international travelers and 3.6% in domestic fliers, while Hobby’s total traffic for the year rose to 11.9 million passengers—an all-time high for the fifth straight year.

All told, over 53 million people from around the globe passed through these two Houston airports. And yes, you guessed it—that’s another new record.

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About the Author

Frank Holmes is CEO and chief investment officer of US Global Investors. This first appeared in his Frank Talk blog. For more updates on global investing from Frank and the rest of the U.S. Global Investors team, follow on Twitter at or like on Facebook at