July 14, 2020 / 3:48 PM / 24 days ago

U.S. air passengers fell 89% in May amid coronavirus pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Travelers pass a sign alerting them to distance at LaGuardia Airport, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York, U.S., June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. airlines carried 89% fewer passengers in May compared with last year, a massive decline that is still better than a historic low in April amid the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Transportation Department said Tuesday.

The 20 largest U.S. airlines carried 7.9 million passengers in May down from 74.8 million passengers in May 2019. Still, the airlines carried more than twice as many passengers in May than in April, when passenger traffic fell 96%, up from 3 million passengers on all U.S. airlines in April. International U.S. traffic fell 98% in May to 182,000 passengers, down from 9.9 million.

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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