A new record is expected for spring travel this year. Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, expects 145 million passengers – nearly 2.4 million per day – to fly globally on U.S. airlines between March 1 and April 30, an increase of 4 percent over last spring’s 140 million passengers.
Accordingly, airlines are adding 110,000 seats per day across their networks to accommodate the 89,000 additional daily passengers expected to fly on U.S. carriers during this period.
In addition to offering lower airfares and further driving competition in the industry, airlines are adding service through nonstop routes and growing the supply of scheduled seats at U.S. airports of all sizes.
U.S. and foreign airlines in 2016 have added 198 new routes and discontinued 161 routes, equating to a net growth of 37 nonstop routes year-over-year serving consumers traveling to and from U.S. airports. Airlines in 2017 have already added 151 new routes, while discontinuing 134 routes for a net growth of 17 routes. Over the past two years, fliers saw net expansion of 54 nonstop routes to and from U.S. airports.
Additionally, the supply of daily scheduled seats departing U.S. airports (U.S. and foreign airlines) grew 3.9 percent from 2015 to 2016 and is currently showing 4.1 percent growth between 2016 and 2017.
U.S. airports of all sizes have realized air service gains over the past two years. Specifically, 176 small and non-hub markets saw seats grow at least half a percent from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2017. Large and medium airports across the country had seat growth of 8 and 12.2 percent, respectively, during that time, while small and non-hub airports realized growth of 10.2 and 4.6 percent, respectively.