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ARC announced Wednesday, May 23, that based on an examination of average airline ticket fares for 12 months ending April 30, 2012, it was the least expensive to depart for a round-trip domestic flight

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ARC announced Wednesday, May 23, that based on an examination of average airline ticket fares for 12 months ending April 30, 2012, it was the least expensive to depart for a round-trip domestic flight from Colorado. *

ARC said its data analysts reviewed 119 million tickets that originated at the top 150 airports in the continental United States, based on the ticket volume issued through ARC-accredited agencies from May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012. Excluding Delaware, every state was represented in the sampling.

To track long-term trends, ARC said used the same parameters to study more than 770 million tickets from Jan. 1, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2011 and found that the least expensive airfares overall occurred in Florida during this period.

In the study, ARC learned that the average domestic round-trip airfare for the 12 months ending April 30, 2012 was $207. When looking at each state within the study’s parameters, it showed that during this same period, Colorado’s average airfare was $171, or 18 percent below the national average, while airfares in North Dakota averaged $270, or 30 percent above the national average. Between 2006 and 2011, the average domestic round trip airfare was $178. The five states with the lowest and highest average round-trip airfares during the study periods were:

Lowest Average Round-Trip Domestic Airfare
5/1/11 – 4/30/12
1. Colorado: $171
2. Florida: $175
3. Missouri: $177
4. Maryland: $178
5. Nevada: $179

Highest Average Round-Trip Domestic Airfare
5/1/11 – 4/30/12
1. N. Dakota: $270
2. Wyoming: $264
3. New Jersey: $263
4. Kentucky: $243
5. Arkansas: $240
Lowest Average Round-Trip Domestic Airfare
1/1/06 – 12/31/11
1. Florida: $152
2. Nevada: $155
3. Colorado: $157
4. Maryland: $157
5. Idaho: $160
Highest Average Round-Trip Domestic Airfare
1/1/06 – 12/31/11
1. Wyoming: $227
2. N. Dakota: $226
3. S. Dakota: $220
4. Kentucky: $218
5. Montana: $218

Besides the $99 spread between the state with the lowest and highest average airfare for the 12 months ending April 30, 2012, ARC also noticed that from Jan. 1, 2006 through Dec. 31,2011, states with fares higher than the national average tended to be clustered together in three geographical areas, while those with fares lower than the national average connected the East and West Coasts. States with higher-than-average fares were concentrated in the Upper Midwest/Plains, the South and the Northeast.

“With all the current discussion about airfares, it’s interesting to take a look at how they vary across the country,” said Chuck Thackston, managing director of data and analytics at ARC. “Although there is no one reason why this deviation should be true, many factors could contribute, including overall traffic volume, level of competition, presence of low-cost carriers, and demographic characteristics of the traveling population such as the composition of business vs. leisure passengers. Remember that this analysis was based on the passenger’s originating state – not their destination. We’ll keep on looking at these data points throughout this year and see if we notice any marked changes.”

ARC’s data and analytics division provides services for customers ranging from airlines and travel organizations to the financial industry. The company’s wealth of information about airline ticket transactions created in the United States is a valuable resource to help organizations make strategic business judgments.

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