U.S. scheduled service airlines used 0.1% less fuel in April 2023 than they did during April 2019 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), signifying a return to pre-pandemic fuel consumption levels. Moreover, fuel consumption levels for U.S. scheduled service airlines fell from 1.545 billion gallons in March 2023 to 1.484 billion gallons during April 2023, a 3.9% decrease.
The rise in fuel consumption reflects an increase in airline passenger travel from March 2023 to April 2023 according to the BTS.
The average cost of a gallon of fuel also fell by about 8.8% from $2.91 in March 2023 to $2.66 in April 2023. However, the cost of a gallon of fuel during April 2023 is still 29.3% higher than it was during April 2019 ($2.06).
Total fuel expenditures for April 2023 topped out at $3.94 billion, a 12.4% drop-off compared to March 2023 ($4.50 billion) and a 29.1% increase from pre-pandemic levels during April 2019 ($3.06 billion). Total fuel expenditures were down $320 million year-on-year during April 2023.
Domestic fuel consumption increased by 6.8% year-over-year during April 2023. Simultaneously, year-over-year domestic fuel costs were down 20.6% during April 2023 while the cost of a gallon of fuel fell by 25.6% year-on-year. From March 2023 to April 2023, domestic fuel consumption fell by 6.4% while increasing by 0.5% when compared to April 2019.
The BTS has been tracking annual fuel cost and consumption data since January 2000. The BTS data from January 2023 to April 2023 is preliminary since individual carrier information is not available during this time period. Also, the BTS said that airline fuel costs are affected by hedging, contracts that limit airlines’ exposure to future fuel price changes.
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