WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Flying this year for Thanksgiving is expected to be higher than it’s been in the last eight years, according to Airlines for America.
The industry trade organization projects that 25.3 million passengers will travel around the world on U.S. airlines during the 12-day Thanksgiving period, a 3 percent increase from 2014. A4A says these are highest figures since the Great Recession.
Airlines are reportedly adding larger planes and additional routes to accommodate the projections. A4A expects an additional 65,000 passengers per day during the Friday, Nov. 20 through Tuesday, Dec. 1 time period.
Busiest travel is expected for Sunday, Nov. 29; Monday, Nov. 30; and Wednesday, Nov. 25. Lightest travel is expected for Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27.
The 10 largest U.S. airlines reported $17.9 billion in earnings or 14.8 percent of revenues – up from 5.7 percent in 2014.
Aviation experts say that lower fuel costs have offset the operating revenues. Fuel operating costs fell 36 percent over the last year, helping drive down total expenses by 8.8 percent, the report found. Employee wages and benefits showed increases of 11.2 percent as airlines started investing more in their workforce.
The organization also found that airlines have added more than 9,000 employees to payrolls year over year.
“With operations improving, airfares falling and new aircraft entering the fleet at a steady pace, 2015 has translated to an improving experience for airline customers,” A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in the press release.