Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, projected that 27.3 million passengers will travel globally on U.S. airlines during the Thanksgiving travel period, up 2.5 percent, or an additional 55,000 passengers per day over last year’s estimated 26.6 million passengers. Highly affordable airfare is driving that increase, and airlines are ready for more holiday travelers, adding 74,000 seats each day through larger planes and additional flights.
A4A expects U.S. airlines will carry an average of 2.27 million passengers per day over the 12-day period, which extends from Friday, Nov. 18 through Tuesday, Nov. 29.
“The airline industry remains highly competitive, which directly benefits consumers as airfares continue to fall, providing even more opportunities for people to travel for Thanksgiving and throughout the year,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich. “Airlines are adding capacity to accommodate the increased demand, and travelers should rest assured that while more people will be flying, there will be more than an adequate number of seats available.”
Daily passenger volumes will range from 1.51 million to 2.81 million, with the busiest travel days in ranked order expected to be Sunday, Nov. 27; Monday, Nov. 28; and Wednesday, Nov. 23. The lightest travel day is expected to be Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, Nov. 24.
U.S. passenger airlines report pre-tax earnings of $18.3 billion
During the first nine months of 2016, nine publicly traded U.S. passenger carriers that have reported third-quarter results thus far (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United) posted a combined pre-tax profit of $18.3 billion, resulting in a margin of 15.5 percent – down slightly from 15.6 percent in 2015.
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