Industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) is estimating that US airlines will carry 234.1 million passengers this summer, which would be up 4 per cent from 2016 and set a new record for global air travel on US carriers.
The report said that airlines are adding 123,000 seats to accommodate the extra 100,000 passengers expected to be flying daily between June 1 and Aug 31, 2017.
“Rising US Gross Domestic Product, a steadily improving economy, an all-time high household net worth. and historically low airfares are proving to be the perfect combination for the expected growth in summer air travel,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich.
“We continue to see consumers value experiences and travel, and airlines are responding accordingly by increasing staffing and boosting the availability of seats in the marketplace, as well as further investing in new aircraft and customer-facing technology.”
A4A reported that domestic seat supply rose 3.8 per cent in 2017, to the highest level in a decade, while the international seat supply increased 6.1 per cent, hitting an all-time high.
The rising passenger counts have translated into higher revenues for airlines, the report noted, but not more profits. In the first quarter of 2017, air-passenger traffic increased 1.6 per cent and airline revenues rose 1.5 per cent, to $37 billion.
However, earnings dipped $2.4 billion, down from $4.8 billion in 2016, as fuel and labor costs remained high.