A4A said it expects U.S. airlines will carry close to 209 million passengers globally from June through August, an increase of 1 percent from the same period in 2012. The system-wide summer estimate includes 27 million international passengers, a record number for U.S. airlines.
This marks the largest summer volume for U.S. airlines since 2008, when more than 210 million traveled. The all-time high was summer 2007, when more than 217 million people took to the skies on U.S. airlines. A4A further noted that the busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between the middle of June and the first week of August.
A4A attributed the uptick to rising household net worth and corporate profits, strong airline operational performance and recent relief in energy prices. While A4A does not forecast airfares, data just released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) demonstrates that airfares remain a bargain, with the average inflation-adjusted domestic airfare (including taxes) down 0.2 percent to $374 in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the average fare of $375 in the fourth quarter of 2011. BTS further reported that since 1995 inflation-adjusted domestic airfares have declined 13.1 percent compared with a 49.6 percent increase in overall consumer prices.
“As we enter the peak summer travel season, Airlines for America expects U.S. airlines to see modest year-over-year growth in both domestic and international travel, including an all-time high for passengers traveling internationally,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich. “It’s a great time to fly as airfares remain a bargain and airlines are delivering strong on-time performance.”