- Özgür Töre
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, expects a record 31.6 million passengers to travel aboard U.S. carriers worldwide during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a 3.7 percent increase over last year.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Dec. 1, is poised to be the busiest travel day ever for the U.S. airline industry, with 3.1 million passengers expected.
"The popularity of air travel continues to soar this holiday season, as airlines and airports alike continue to invest billions of dollars into improving the quality of the experience and the efficiency of their operations," said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich.
A4A is projecting U.S. airlines will carry an average of 2.63 million passengers per day during the Thanksgiving travel period, which extends from Friday, Nov. 22 to Tuesday Dec. 3. In addition to the record 3.1 million passengers expected on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2.98 million passengers are expected on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and 2.96 million on Friday, Nov. 22. Thanksgiving Day itself, Nov. 28, is projected to be one of the lightest days of the year, with only 1.79 million passengers. Compared with the 2018 Thanksgiving travel period, U.S. airlines will operate 859 more flights per day, adding 108,000 daily seats to their schedules, to accommodate the additional 93,000 daily passengers expected.
Airlines Fly Green
The U.S. airline industry is a green operation that is growing more sustainable all the time. In fact, U.S. airlines carry 2.4 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo per day, while contributing just 2 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. carriers transported 42 percent more passengers and cargo in 2018 than in 2000 with just a 3 percent increase in overall carbon emissions. And we are committed to reducing emissions even further by investing in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable alternative aviation fuels, air traffic control improvements, cutting-edge route-optimization software and more.
October 2020 Deadline Approaching for REAL ID Driver's Licenses
Beginning October 1, 2020, passengers must present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or another form of acceptable identification, such as a valid U.S. passport, at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening checkpoints. A4A urges travelers to check with their state's driver's license agency for more information and obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver's license prior to the deadline.
Airlines Oppose Unnecessary Airport Tax Hike
U.S. airport revenues are at an all-time high and airport construction is booming across the country, yet some are asking Congress to raise or even completely uncap the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), the airport tax passengers pay on each leg of their flight.
Passengers already pay $6.9 billion per year in airport taxes, and airports have $16 billion in cash on hand plus access to a $7 billion surplus in the federal government's Airport and Airway Trust Fund. Airline passengers don't want a tax hike, and airports don't need to collect more tax dollars at the expense of travelers.