May 10, 2012- U.S. airlines should be full during the peak season this summer said an industry association. The trade group, Airlines for America, in its annual forecast said that major airlines in the U.S. estimated that nearly 180 million passengers would fly on domestic flights between June and August. That number is very similar to the number of passengers from a year ago.
However, AFA predicts that more than 26.8 million people will fly on international flights, which would represent an increase of close to 2.5 million people. Additionally airlines are keeping the number of seats available lower, therefore the planes will be even more crowded each day.
The daily average for airlines will be 2.24 million domestically and internationally combined. The total travel count is expected to be over 206 million for the season. That would be more overall travelers than last summer, but 5% less that the all time high for the summer of 217.6 million set in 2007.
The group said airfares have increased in the past few months, but the fares have not stayed on pace with the current rate of inflation. Since 2000, the rate of inflation has increased 31% and average fares for domestic flights during that time have increased 9%. When adjusted using inflation, that rate would drop by 16%.