U.S. carriers should move 210 million passengers during the 2014 summer season—a 1.5% boost from 2013 and the highest total since the still-record years of 2007 and 2008, Airlines For America (A4A) projects.
The boost will include a record 30 million passengers on international flights, A4A says.
Several factors are driving the positive trends, A4A says. Among them: general economic expansion, an improving job market, and wage growth that outpaces airline fare increases.
The top international destinations as measured in scheduled seats for all airlines remain Canada, Mexico, and the U.K., as they were in 2013.
The largest year-over-year growth reflects the shift in international airline strategies. Seats to Norway, bolstered by Norwegian Air International, will be up 81%. Seats to Qatar will jump nearly 53%, and United Arab Emirates will increase 42%, reflecting expansion ofand Emirates and related responses.
A4A’s projected figures are based on schedules for scheduled airline travel from June 1 to August 31. A4A notes that the time period includes 10 of the year’s 15 busiest travel days as calculated by the(TSA).
The news comes on the heels of a first-quarter swing to profitability for the nine publicly traded U.S. passenger airlines. The carriers—, , , , , , , and —combined to post a reported a net profit of $401 million, compared with a net loss of $552 million during the same period in 2013.
Operating revenues rose 3.7% percent, due in large part to a 1.1% bump in passengers—”the equivalent of an additional 21,000 passengers per day,” A4A notes.