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US airlines expect to carry 47.5M passengers over winter holidays

US airlines expect to carry 47.5M passengers over winter holidays
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The top industry group for U.S. airlines predicts 47.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines globally over the winter holiday season.

An average of 2.6 million passengers will fly every day from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5, according to Airlines for America (A4A). That average represents 3 percent more people from 2018 during the same travel period.

Roughly 72,000 additional passengers will travel daily during this period, so U.S. airlines will offer 88,000 additional seats and 884 additional flights per day. 

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The group predicts Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 to be the busiest travel days within the period. Christmas Eve, on Dec. 24; Christmas Day, on Dec. 25; and New Year’s Eve, on Dec. 31, are expected to be the lightest travel days within the period.

The predictions follow the busiest travel day in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) history, when the agency screened more than 2.8 million people on Dec. 1 following Thanksgiving.

“Buoyed by a healthy economy and plentiful, affordable air service, travelers once again are expected to take to the skies in record numbers,” John Heimlich, A4A's vice president and chief economist, said in a statement released on Tuesday.