U.S. Airlines Expected to Fly 38 Million Travelers during the Winter Holiday Season

A4A projects a 3 percent increase in holiday travel, as airlines add
flights, seats to accommodate additional demand

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Airlines
for America
(A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S.
airlines
, today released its 2015-2016 Winter Holiday Air Travel
Forecast, projecting 38.1 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines
during the 17-day period from Friday, Dec. 18 through Sunday, Jan. 3.
That is an increase of more than 3 percent or approximately 73,000 more
travelers each of those days from the comparable period a year ago. Last
year, 36.9 million customers were estimated to have traveled by air. A4A
projects that 12 percent of those traveling will be on international
flights.

To accommodate the increased demand for air travel, airlines are adding
a commensurate number of seats to the market, principally through the
use of larger aircraft. Planes are projected to be 80 percent to 90
percent full over the winter holiday period, with the busiest travel
days expected to be Sunday, Jan.3; Friday, Dec. 18; and Sunday, Dec. 27
respectively. Consistent with historical patterns, the lightest travel
days are expected to be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and
New Year’s Day. Passenger volumes are expected to range from 1.9 million
to 2.4 million during the 17-day period, with the busiest days seeing
more than 10 percent more passengers than the average day in 2015.

“U.S. airlines are well positioned to serve the higher demand by adding
flights and seats, deploying new and larger aircraft and boosting
staffing,” said John
Heimlich
, Vice President and Chief Economist for Airlines for
America. “We attribute the increase to the improving economy and the
fact that airfare remains affordable, having declined 4.3 percent
through the first nine months of the year.”

As More People Fly, A4A Advocates for Transformational ATC Reform to
Accommodate Growth

During peak travel periods, the need for a reformed Air Traffic Control
(ATC) system, which would reduce delays and more efficiently accommodate
travelers, is even more apparent.

“Airlines have been reinvesting in their product to the tune of $1.3
billion per month to transform the travel experience for our customers,
and it is time that the government transforms the Air Traffic Control
system, enabling more planes to fly more efficiently and reduce air
traffic control delays,” said Sharon Pinkerton, A4A Senior Vice
President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. “The U.S. airline
industry and the more than 2 million customers we fly every day need a
better alternative to today’s outdated, overburdened system.”

As part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, A4A
is advocating that the Air Traffic Organization move to a
not-for-profit, self-funded commercial organization governed by a board
representing all stakeholders. This would help guarantee long-term
financial stability that benefits all travelers and provide for
continued upgrades of ATC infrastructure and technology.

ABOUT A4A

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S.
economic activity and more than 11 million U.S. jobs. Airlines for
America (A4A) vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline
industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental
responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s
economy and global competitiveness.

America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the
integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods
globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying
jobs. A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups,
Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

For more information about the airline industry, visit our website airlines.org
and our blog, A Better Flight Plan, at airlines.org/blog.

Follow us on Twitter: @airlinesdotorg.
Like
us on Facebook: facebook.com/AirlinesforAmerica.
Join
us on Instagram: instagram.com/AirlinesforAmerica.

To learn how you can support a National Airline Policy, a better flight
plan for everyone, visit www.nationalairlinepolicy.com.

Contacts

Airlines for America (A4A)
Melanie Hinton
Managing Director,
Airline Industry Public Relations and Communications
202-626-4034
mhinton@airlines.org
or
Vaughn
Jennings
Managing Director, Government and Regulatory Communications
202-626-4209
vjennings@airlines.org
or
Jean
Medina
Senior Vice President, Communications
jmedina@airlines.org