Airlines For America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. carriers, predicts a record 31.6 million passengers will 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,” says vice president and chief economist, John Heimlich, during a conference call with reporters.
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. 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.
Heimlich also noted that the U.S. airline industry is growing more sustainable all the time, carrying 2.4 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo daily, while contributing just 2 percent to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Globally, U.S. and foreign airlines combined are offering an average of 3.16 million seats daily in 2019, up 3.5 percent over the previous year.