US airlines forecast record travel in summer, up 6.3% over last year

US airlines forecast record travel in summer, up 6.3% over last year

WASHINGTON--A group representing major U.S. airlines forecast record summer travel with carriers expected to transport 271 million passengers, up 6.3% from last year.

Airlines for America said Tuesday that U.S. carriers plan to fly more than 26,000 daily flights this summer, up nearly 1,400 over 2023, or 5.6%, when they carried 255 million passengers. The summer travel season forecast is for June 1 to Aug. 31. American Airlines said it will boost flights by 10% this summer. United Airlines is forecasting a record-setting 3 million travellers expected to fly during the May 23-28 Memorial Day travel period, up nearly 10%. Delta Air Lines said it expects a 5% jump in Memorial Day weekend customers to nearly 3 million customers between May 23-27. The forecast comes as the Federal Aviation Administration is struggling to address a persistent shortage of air traffic controllers. Some airlines voluntarily trimmed New York flights last summer to address congestion issues. The FAA said in March it would relocate control of the Newark, New Jersey, airspace area to Philadelphia to address staffing and congested New York City area traffic by June 30. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and other lawmakers last week urged the FAA to rescind plans to force 17 air traffic controllers to move from New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) to Philadelphia. At several facilities, controllers are working mandatory overtime and six-day work weeks to cover shortages. The FAA agency is about 3,000 controllers behind staffing targets and the agency said last autumn it had about 10,700 certified controllers - about the same as a year earlier. Airlines can lose their takeoff and landing slots at congested airports if they do not use them enough. The FAA extended cuts to these minimum flight requirements at New York City-area airports through October because of staffing issues, and major airlines last month asked for them to be extended through October 2025.

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