Airline industry braces for huge travel surge over Labor Day

Airline industry braces for huge travel surge over Labor Day
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The airline industry is bracing for a huge surge in travel over Labor Day amid low fuel prices, an improving economy and decreasing airfares.

Airlines for America (A4A), the trade group that represents most of the nation’s major airlines, estimated on Wednesday that 16.1 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines over the seven-day travel period.

That’s a 5 percent increase — or an additional 110,000 passengers per day — from the 15.4 million passengers that flew during the same period last year, which capped off a summer of record-high travel.

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To accommodate the uptick in demand, airlines are adding 133,000 seats per day, according to A4A.

The three busiest U.S. airports are expected to be Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago's O’Hare International Airport. The busiest travel day is expected to land on Friday, Sept. 1.

But despite the high volume of flyers, the industry is not worried about potentially long airport security lines — a trend that plagued airline passengers last year, when air travel first began surging.

“As household wealth increases, ticket prices remain low and airlines large and small continue to grow, consumers are finding it easier and more affordable than ever to get away for personal or family travel,” John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist of A4A, said in a statement.

“While we expect a growth in passenger traffic over the Labor Day holiday, flyers can rest assured that U.S. airlines have appropriately increased the number of seats available for their late summer getaways.”