Airlines for America, a trade group of U.S. airlines, released its 2015 spring forecast late last week. Its prediction: The number of passengers expected to fly on U.S. airlines will reach 134.8 million in March and April, or 2.2 million fliers a day. That reflects a 2 percent increase over 2014.
Perhaps we can expect a busy spring break flying season. And maybe, just maybe, the planes won’t be packed or oversold.
According to the group, airlines are increasing the number of seats by 3 percent, or 64,000 seats per day, to accommodate the growth in demand.
Airlines for America vice president and chief economist John Heimlich attributes the growth to an improving economy, including a rise in employment and personal incomes.
The strong dollar also means that more Americans are heading overseas, where their spending power is strong. International air travel reached a record high of 197.3 million travelers in 2014, according to the report.
Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, doesn’t see as rosy a picture, even if his organization’s own data also predicts growing demand for air travel. He questions whether airlines will make sure that capacity keeps up with demand.
“Every piece of evidence we have shows that our infrastructure is already straining under the current load, and that passengers are frustrated beyond words by overcrowded flights and delays,” he said in a news release.
Dow is interested in keeping flying a positive experience because the mission of the U.S. Travel Association — a nonprofit representing the travel industry — is to increase travel to and within the United States.
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