Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today projected that 47.5 million passengers will fly globally on U.S. airlines over the 18-day winter holiday travel period from Thursday, December 19, through Sunday, January 5.
A4A projects an average of 2.6 million passengers will take to the skies each day over the holidays, with daily volumes ranging from 2.2 million to 3 million. That is an increase of 3 percent from the comparable period a year ago.
To accommodate the 72,000 additional daily passengers, airlines will offer 88,000 additional seats per day and 884 more flights per day.
“Throughout this year we’ve seen steady gains in air travel demand, and this winter will be no exception” said John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist for Airlines for America. “Buoyed by a healthy economy and plentiful, affordable air service, travelers once again are expected to take to the skies in record numbers.”
A4A expects the busiest travel days of the 18-day period to be Friday, Dec. 20; Saturday, Dec. 21; Friday, Dec. 27; and Thursday, Dec. 26. The lightest travel days are expected to be Christmas Eve (Tuesday, Dec. 24); New Year’s Eve (Tuesday, Dec. 31); and Christmas Day (Wednesday, Dec. 25).
This busy winter holiday season follows a record-breaking Thanksgiving travel period. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 26 million passengers and crew members over the holiday period. On Sunday, December 1, the TSA screened more than 2.8 million travelers, making it the busiest day in the agency’s history. Despite the high volume of travelers, the TSA reported that 99.8 percent of all passengers nationwide waited less than 30 minutes in a checkpoint line. U.S. airlines will continue to work collaboratively with the TSA and airports to ensure the efficiency, safety and security of all passengers and crew members.