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Holiday Passengers to Hit Record Numbers

Holiday Passengers to Hit Record Numbers
Jennifer Billock

Airlines are preparing for larger-than-ever amounts of passengers to fly this holiday season.

Airlines in the U.S. are getting ready for massive amounts of travelers this holiday season. Airlines for America, an industry trade organization, predicted 45.2 million passengers — that’s a year-over-year increase of 3.5 percent. Between December 16 and January 5, airlines across the country will be adding 99,000 additional seats a day, which is 3.9. percent more than last year’s holiday season. The airlines are expecting an additional 73,000 passengers per day more than usual.

“As we saw over Thanksgiving, US airlines are well positioned to handle the increase in passengers expected this holiday season,” John Heimlich, president and chief economist of Airlines for America, told Air Transport World. “Concerted and well-coordinated efforts over Thanksgiving helped ensure the traditional holiday rush was as smooth as could be for fliers, resulting in shorter security wait times and noticeable higher on-time performance rates.”

Through the Thanksgiving season, airlines appeared to have minimal problems: 84.5 percent of flights arrived on time and there was a 99.4 percent flight completion factor.

Five airports have been pegged as expected to be the busiest during the holiday rush: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International (ATL), Chicago O’Hare International (ORD), Los Angeles International (LAX), Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW), and Denver International (DEN). The busiest and slowest days have been predicted as well: December 22 and 23 are expected to be the busiest, and the lightest are expected to be December 24, 25 and 31, and January 1.

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