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U.S. airlines carried 3 million passengers in April, a staggering 96% decline from April, 2019, amid the coronavirus pandemic and flight restrictions, the Transportation Department said on Wednesday.

The department said U.S. airlines carried about 2.8 million domestic passengers and 132,000 international passengers. International passengers fell 99 per cent over April, 2019, as the U.S. imposed flight restrictions on many international visitors.

Total U.S. airline passengers were the lowest since 1974 when the government began collecting monthly data. By comparison, there were 76.1 million total U.S. airline passengers in April, 2019.

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The previous low recorded was 14.6 million passengers in February, 1975.

U.S. airlines have grounded nearly half of all airplanes, cancelled hundreds of thousands of flights and the industry is still burning through billions a dollars a month. But many airlines are adding back flights in July as demand modestly rebounds off the historic lows.

Passenger traffic has recently risen from April lows and fell only 85 per cent in the week ending June 7, while total flights are down 72 per cent.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, said demand for future air travel remains down 82 per cent and revenue for future flights is down 92 per cent.

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