About 16.5 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S. carriers over the week-long Labor Day travel period, airline trade group Airlines for America predicts. This would constitute a 3.5 percent increase from the 16 million passengers estimated for the same holiday period last year.
To accommodate the expected 2.36 million daily passengers, airlines will offer 2.76 million seats per day across their networks, an increase of 92,000 each day over last year’s scheduled service. Friday, Aug. 31 is expected to be the busiest travel day of the week, with an estimated 2.76 million passengers flying onboard U.S. airlines worldwide.
“2018 has been an exceptionally busy year for air travel, with 20 out of the 25 busiest days ever recorded by the Transportation Security Administration occurring so far this year,” says John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist at A4A.
U.S. passenger airline employment is at its highest level since 2004, with June 2018 representing the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Since 2015, U.S. airline job growth has consistently outpaced the national average. As demand for air travel continues to grow, U.S. airlines are significantly reinvesting in passengers, employees and products to enhance the travel experience.
Additionally, passengers are benefitting from an all-time high of more than 3 million scheduled seats departing U.S. airports daily, up 4.4 percent domestically and 4 percent on international routes.
Despite a challenging operational environment so far in 2018, airlines have reported strong operational metrics for Q1 2018, including the lowest-ever recorded rate of involuntary denied boardings, down to 1.2 per 100,000 passengers. The on-time arrival rate from January to May also improved by about 1 percent the past year. The flight completion factor dipped slightly, from 98.47 percent in 2017 to 98.05 in 2018.